Industry concerned over textile policy delay

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD
Stakeholders have shown their concerns over the delay in approval of much awaited textile policy 2014-19, claiming that further delays may negatively affect the major export oriented sector of the country.
“The incompetent government is continuing to delay textile policy despite the lapse of more than eight months, reflecting lack of interest of the federal government in promoting the industry in the country,” said All Pakistan Textile Mills Association chairman S.M Tanveer during a joint press conference along with Group Leader APTMA Gohar Ejaz at the APTMA Punjab office in Lahore on Tuesday.
He said delay in announcement of textile policy 2014-19 further suggests that the present government is not different from the previous one, which had allocated Rs180 billion in Textile Policy 2009-14 whereas disbursed only Rs28 billion which is 15% lower of the allocation' he added.
He said both India and Bangladesh announced their textile policies and registered 2008-2013 a growth of 94% and 160% respectively in exports against merely 22% of Pakistan during 2009-14. The world textile exports also grew by 45% on an average during the same period, he said.
While dubbing the federal textile ministry as "toothless" and "failed" ministry, he said an undue delay in announcement of textile policy 2014-19 has already left Pakistan far behind against the region counterparts, he added.
He said today 30% of the industry capacity is non-operational, exports are stagnant and no new investment has taken place since 2006.
He lamented that the government had no focus on the growth of textile industry and the textile policy, therefore, has been delayed by almost last eight months.
According to him, the proposed textile policy for 2014-19 speaks about allocation of Rs60 billion, which is a drop in the ocean and government should enhance it to Rs200 billion at least.
He said the goals set in the proposed textile policy 2014-19, double textile exports, $1 billion investment per annum, employment creation, raw material availability of both cotton and man-made fiber are not possible to meet with such a meagre allocation.
While putting forward proposals for much-awaited textile policy 2014-19, chairman APTMA has sought guaranteed uninterrupted electricity and gas supply, Technology Up-gradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) for BMR and greenfield projects, cotton production target of 20 million bales, MMF availability on competitive price, new investment, incentives on domestic consumption of textiles and clothing and immediate liquidation of pending refunds of textile industry.
Group leader APTMA said the overloaded subsidies for textile industry in India has made Pakistan's textile industry uncompetitive. Pakistan's flagship textile industry is facing the fate of national hockey team due to inattentive attitude of the government.
According to Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA), the businessman of the country is waiting for the relaxation to the textile sector due in new textile policy, so that losses of the sector could recover and it starts contributing to national exchequers but delays in the announcement of new policy was discouraging.
Stakeholders are expecting new schemes like complete settlement of all outstanding refund claims, rationalisation of refund regime, establishment of Exim Bank, duty free import of textile machinery and reduction in mark-up rate for export refinance, as announced by the government from time to time.
According to officials, around Rs 80 billion were earmarked in the federal budget for textile package; however, after a lapse of six months, these schemes could not be initiated.
Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) Chairman Sohail Pasha expressed concerns that the country has, according to him, failed to exploit GSP Plus status given by European Union to its full potential.
He said last textile policy, which expired on June 30, last year, failed to reach the envisaged textile exports target of $25 billion, and the exports merely remained at a level of around $13.5 billion only.

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