KARACHI: Textile Minister Abbas Khan Afridi said on Friday that his ministry is launching a skill development programme for youth in the textile policy to be announced next month.

He said the main objective of training programme is to provide skilled workforce to textile industry and make it more competitive in the world market.

Speaking to All-Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) members at the Aptma House, the minister said his ministry would bear all cost of skill development programme which would include stipend to the trainee, raw material, social mobilisation evaluation cost.

The minister further said that around 120,000 men and women will impart training during next five years and an amount of Rs4.4 billion has been allocated for this programme.

During the training period, each trainee would be given a stipend of Rs8000 per month, he added.

Mr Afridi cautioned Aptma members that gas tariff may further go up and advised the industry to immediately convert their captive power plants on coal to ensure cheap energy.

The minister agreed with the Aptma members that all categories of exports should be zero rated and the present system of sales tax refund was only creating corruption and also results in long delays in payments to the industry.

He stressed the need for encouraging value-addition at all stages so that country’s exports could go up in a shortest possible time.

The value-added exports will fetch higher price in the world market and the country would earn more foreign exchange, he added.

The minister agreed that the country is presently faced with serious issues, like energy, law and order and these are hampering industrial production and exports.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2014

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