Exporters panicky at drop in textile exports

Published January 24, 2015
This picture shows women working in a textile factory. — Reuters/File
This picture shows women working in a textile factory. — Reuters/File

FAISALABAD: Textile exports of Pakistan have witnessed a drop of 6.38 per cent in December last as compared to 2013, causing a panic among exporters.

Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) Chairman Sohail Pasha said the unprecedented energy shortage and lack of working capital were the prime reasons for the significant drop in exports despite GSP Plus status.

He apprehended export situation might worsen in the future as the textile industry in Punjab had been deprived of fuel and working capital.

Giving details, Mr Pasha said Pakistan exported textile products worth $1.175bn in December as against exports of $1.255bn in same month of previous year. Export of value-added items also witnessed negative growth as cotton cloth came down by 13.62pc, bedwear 11.54pc, towels 11.39pc and made-ups 10.04pc.

Slow poisoning of economy was being precipitated due to the nonserious attitude of the government as exports of the country were heading towards a collapse, he added.

Mr Pasha added that the drop in exports would have serious consequences for the economy but the government was not addressing the reasons behind it. Policymakers were not serious in resolving gas supply issue of the textile industry, he said, adding that instead the available gas was being supplied to the unproductive sectors, causing a loss in terms of foreign exchange. The GSP Plus facility had not brought about desired results and the efforts had been wasted as we were unable to produce export surplus due to massive energy constraints, he said.

Rizwan Riaz, vice chairman of the PTEA, said drop in exports and the health of textile sector was being taken up at various forums but the government did not understand the gravity of the situation and no steps were being taken to rectify the situation. He criticised the policies, which had failed to encourage investment in the textile sector during last five years whereas competitors had made huge investments due to the positive and business-friendly environment provided by their governments.

Mr Riaz said the rivals, taking advantage of the situation, were creeping into Pakistan’s traditional markets, throwing its textiles out. He said less increase in exports than non-GSP Plus India was not a good omen for Pakistan as India’s extraordinary surge in exports reveals its preparedness to deal with the GSP Plus advantage of Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2015

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