ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s textile exports, especially those of value-added products, grew 0.59 per cent to $1.053 billion in October from $1.047bn in the same month of the last year, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics said on Friday.
Though paltry, the growth was much needed as the sector’s exports had been in decline for the last couple of years due to falling commodity prices on the international market. The rise in proceeds, particularly because of better prices, has also revived hopes that the sector may now regain its share in the global market.
However, Apparel Forum Chairman Jawed Bilwani told Dawn that exports rose despite the fact that there was no support from the government. In fact, the cost of Pakistani products has increased manifold, he lamented.
He also criticised the government for announcing a package for the textile sector “only on paper”, and said the government has created problems for exporters instead of resolving them.
Boosting exports was not on the government’s list of priorities, Mr Bilwani said, adding that its focus was only on building roads and announcing projects like Metrobus in Punjab.
Product-wise details show that exports of readymade garments grew 1.4pc and of knitwear 4.9pc in October on an annual basis. Exports of bedwear went up by 7.7pc and towels 9.7pc.
While carded cotton witnessed a substantial year-on-year growth of 222pc, exports of all other primary commodities — raw cotton, cotton yarn and cotton cloth — declined during the month under review.
One reason behind the rise in exports of value-added textile products is preferential access to the 28-nation European Union under the GSP+ scheme.
In the four months to October, the value of overall textile and clothing products fell 4.4pc to $4.082bn from $4.268bn a year ago.
President of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Rauf Alam appreciated the government for reducing gas prices for the industrial sector by Rs200 per million British thermal units.
In a meeting with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday, he said the cut would provide relief to the sector which was becoming non-competitive in the international market.
“The relief will go a long way in solving the problems of the industrial sector and will improve its productive capacity.”
According to an official statement issued after the meeting, Mr Dar said the government was committed to address the problems of the industry and was making all efforts possible to make the country’s products competitive in the international market once again.
“Now it is obligation of the businesses to increase exports and earn the much-needed foreign exchange for the country,” he said.
Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2016