LAHORE - Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervez Rashid has said the present government has put the economy on the right track through industry friendly policies.

He was addressing the ceremony held here on Saturday to inaugurate the 16th Textile Asia 2016 Exhibition at Expo Centre. The fair has been organised by the Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) in collaboration with E-commerce Gateway.

The minister said that Pakistan’s textile industry had a tremendous capability to create employment opportunities at the grass root level. “I would congratulate the PRGMEA and E-commerce Gateway Pakistan on organising this exhibition and sending out a soft and peace loving image to the world,” he added.

“These types of fairs are very important, as they facilitate in increasing exports and bringing investments,” he noted.

Dar said the export of readymade garments from Pakistan to the international market had increased. He hoped that such events would benefit the local textile industry.

The minister further said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had announced reduction in the power tariff, besides granting zero-rating facility for the five export-oriented sectors, including garment industry, for the development of country’s textile sector.

PRGMEA Senior Vice Chairman Sohail A Sheikh, while addressing the ceremony, said that PRGMEA had taken the initiative with the collaboration of E-commerce Gateway to increase productivity of the local industry. “The event fully reflects the investment potential Pakistan offers for modernisation of the textile sector,” he added.

Sheikh said that last year the event provided an effective podium for joint ventures and collaborations between the industrialists belonging to the textile sector, and also for 315 foreign entrepreneurs from 27 countries, who displayed more than 310 brands.

PRGMEA Chief Coordinator Ijaz Khokhar said on the occasion that textile was the only sector which had contributed $12, 455.76 million (60 percent) to exports in 2015-16 and $13, 453.91 million (57 percent) to exports in 2014-15.

Khokhar said that Pakistan was the fourth largest cotton producing country in the world, but had failed to convert this local produce into value-added products. “It fetches only $1.17 billion per million bales whereas our competitors like Bangladesh gets $6 billion and India $1.79 billion,” he elaborated.

“We appreciate that the present government has identified textile as a key priority area and is making all possible efforts to make sure it remains on track by introducing the policies and incentives that encourage private sector investment in value-addition,” he added.

Ecommerce Gateway President Dr Khursheed Nizam, while addressing the ceremony, said that this year's trade fair was expected to be visited by 50,000 people from trade and the corporate sector as well as more than 550 foreign delegates.

“The focus of this fair is on value-addition in textile industry so that the exports of our value-added items and garment products could be increased,” he added.

He said another objective behind holding the exhibition was to witness the immense buying and selling of textile & garment machinery, accessories, raw material supplies, chemicals and allied services under one roof.

Later talking to the media, the minister said the present government was focusing on making Pakistan economically strong.

Rashid said that terrorism would be eliminated from the country and all efforts for this purpose were continuing.

He warned that Pakistan could not afford the politics of agitation and protests.

“I want such kind of exhibitions every day to promote business and industry instead of destroying the economy through protests and demonstration,” he said.

To a question, the minister said the government would send a reference to the British authorities against Altaf Hussain for inciting people to violence and attacking media houses in Karachi.“We believe that British democracy and law will take its course and nab Altaf for urging his party workers to take up arms and resort to violence,” he added.