Textile industry for long-term policies to enhance exports

LAHORE  -  The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association chairman Syed Ali Ahsan has said that in order to boost exports the government should announce long-term investment and growth policies so that industry could undertake new investment decisions for technology upgradation and value-addition, which will not only generate more exportable surplus but also new sustainable jobs.

He was addressing a press conference at APTMA Punjab on Friday. He said the industry has envisaged to double exports from $13.5 billion to $27 billion in next 5 years with the investment of $ 7 billion which will create additional 1.5 million jobs. He appreciated the vision of the government in recognizing importance of exporting industry, the only way forward to export-led growth to overcome trade deficit and the consequent financial crisis faced by our economy.

Chairman APTMA said the government has fulfilled its commitment for crisis ridden exporting industry (5 zero rated sectors) by announcing regionally competitive tariff for both gas and electricity i.e. flat regionally competitive electricity tariff US cents 7.5/kWh all inclusive and flat gas tariff USD 6.5/mmbtu all inclusive for captive and processing use in 5 zero rated sectors (exporting industry).

He said the initiative of flat regionally competitive electricity tariff would not only reduce interprovincial disparity but also inter sectoral (captive/prime user) disparity. Now, prime users of electricity will enjoy the same tariff as is to captive industrial units, he added.

He said resolving the energy affordability issue is a positive step for reviving 30% closed/idle capacity, which is located predominantly in Punjab. However, he added, this regime should continue for next 5 years for the growth of industry on sustainable basis.

Regarding the announcement of flat gas tariff, he said priority of exporting industry has been upgraded and moved to 2nd in Gas Allocation and Management Policy 2013. This will ensure gas availability throughout the year, he added.

Meanwhile, Gohar Ejaz welcomed initiatives for providing affordable energy to export industry by the government as promised to do so within a period of three months. This will go a long way in taking the textile industry to a new height, he added.

He urged the government and the economic managers to ensure earliest issuance of related notifications so that the industry can focus on production, secure export orders and undertake new investment initiatives.

He also demanded of a long term export-led growth policy, containing initiatives for availability of raw materials, both cotton and polyester staple fibre, without incidentals and at regionally competitive price, immediate payment of pending refunds of the industry, and the facility of LTFF to indirect exports for making investment in technology and value addition.

He said foreign exchange earning from exports is the only sustainable solution instead of looking towards IMF or a country specific support. The industry is all set to work in tandem with the government to achieve national economic goals, he concluded.

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