NA body for cotton purchase by TCP

The committee expressed concern over frequent absence of the Minister for Textile Industry Makhdoom Shahabuddin. - File photo


ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Standing Committee on Textile Industry on Monday asked the government to direct the Trading Corporation of Pakistan to start buying cotton from growers.

The legislators had expressed their resentment over exploitation of cotton growers as they were not presently getting fair price following a fall in the price in the open market.

“The government must direct the TCP to immediately start buying cotton from growers at the rates prescribed by the government,” said chairman, Standing Committee, MNA, Haji Mohammad Akram Ansari.

The committee was informed that the arrival of phutti from cotton fields in the Punjab to ginners reached 9.650 million bales till Dec 1, showing an increase of 16 per cent during the period under review over last year.

A presentation was given over cotton production, showing that higher production of cotton in the Punjab had helped offset damages and losses caused by recent rains and floods in Sindh to standing crops.

As a result, the committee recommended that the issue of cotton purchase by the TCP should also be taken up by the government in its cabinet meeting on Dec 14.

The committee expressed concern over frequent absence of the Minister for Textile Industry Makhdoom Shahabuddin.

“The minister should ensure his presence in the next meeting,” the committee members unanimously said.

In the past few meetings, the committee had frequently invited Mr Shahabuddin to meetings of the standing committee to reply to the queries of the members over performance of textile and clothing industry.

Secretary, Ministry of Textile Industry, Shahid Rashid, briefed the committee on textile policy implementation. He informed that the ministry had signed a memorandum of understanding with the EOBI and social security departments of Punjab and Sindh to reimburse EOBI and social security of women and handicapped employees working in the textile sector from the date of commencement of the textiles policy in October 2009.

Mr Rashid informed that in proposed Textiles Industry Development, Promotion and Standards Act, the clause pertaining to levy of cess has been modified. He also briefed the committee on disbursements made to textiles sector in various schemes under Textiles Policy, including recent-release of Rs2 billion for drawback of local taxes and levies.

The member highlighted various flaws in the said policy wherein small industrialists have been ignored.

The members also expressed reservations over non-refund of claims to industrialists whereby the committee recommended that the government may provide sufficient funds in this regard.

The committee also discussed draft textile bill aimed at development, promotion, regulation and setting of standards for the textile industry in Pakistan to achieve a sustainable growth, employment generation, increased productivity and value-addition throughout the textile chain and deferred it for the next meeting.

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