Pakistan’s textile sector set for positive growth as exports rebound

In a promising turn of events, Pakistan’s textile sector is poised for a positive growth trajectory marked by a noteworthy export rebound and significant policy interventions.

This was stated by Mr Rehman, a member of the Executive Committee of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA).

Talking to WealthPK, he said that approximately 20% of the textile and clothing sector’s installed capacity was adversely affected during the last 16 months. “However, recent developments indicate a positive trend, as August 2023 witnessed a month-on-month increase of 14.27% in overall exports compared to July 2023. 
He highlighted that the textile and clothing sector’s effective production capacity now exceeded $25 billion, thanks to investments exceeding $5 billion in recent years. “Policy initiatives are expected to facilitate the realisation of the sector’s full potential.”

He explained that the successful implementation of the Regionally Competitive Energy Tariffs (RCET) had led to textile and clothing exports reaching $19.5 billion in FY22. “However, exports plummeted to $16 billion in FY23 after the RCET was discontinued.

Rehman pointed out that the commerce ministry was set to unveil a comprehensive plan aimed at reinvigorating more than 1,600 textile industries that had remained dormant for the past 16 months.
Caretaker Commerce Minister Gohar Ejaz has expressed optimism about the imminent announcement of a strategic framework to bolster the textile industry’s competitiveness on the global stage.

He said that the framework was “meticulously crafted” and encompassed provisions for regional competitive energy pricing, working capital support, expedited refund payments, enhanced market access, and diversification of product offerings.

Ejaz added that the framework had the potential to “unleash the country’s full production capacity” and help the textile industry achieve its export target of $50 billion by 2028. He urged the stakeholders to work together to implement the framework effectively.
The textile sector’s woes extend throughout the entire value chain, encompassing various stages, including ginning, weaving, spinning, processing, and garment manufacturing. Some industries also operate at reduced production levels, further underscoring the sector’s need for revitalisation.

Presently, Pakistan boasts 6,300 registered textile and clothing manufacturing companies, along with over 1,800 associations of persons in this category. Of these, 2,000 are registered as textile and clothing exporters with the Ministry of Commerce.

Under the proposed plan, the commerce ministry envisions Pakistan’s overall exports reaching an impressive $80 billion within the next five years. The policy also places a strong emphasis on non-traditional sectors, such as pharmaceuticals, minerals, gems and marble, while seeking to diversify markets, particularly in the Central Asian countries and Africa.

The member of the APTMA’s Executive Committee also shared positive news regarding cotton production, estimating it at 12 million bales for 2023, with potential for further growth. He credited it to the Punjab government’s measures for boosting production.
Despite recent setbacks, Rehman remains hopeful that the Ministry of Commerce’s comprehensive plan will stimulate economic growth by reviving closed industries and bolstering Pakistan’s export sector. “While challenges persist, there is a sense of optimism and determination to steer the textile sector and the broader economy toward a brighter future.”

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