LAHORE, May 3: The textile industry can pick up the steam if the government pays out billions of rupees outstanding tax refunds to exporters in order to increase textile exports significantly.

In a statement on Friday, Pakistan Textile Exporters Association Chairman Asghar Ali said the huge amounts of value-added textile exporters were stuck up in sales tax, local taxes drawbacks, customs rebate, and federal excise duty refund regimes creating severe financial crunch.

“If these amounts are released, exporters can divert that capital towards their businesses, which will help enhance Pakistan’s export earning,” he added. He said the severe shortage of energy had already devastated the manufacturing and industrial sectors rendering export units dysfunctional and the situation was resulting in the loss of production, he said.

“Pakistani exports are under-stress due to prevailing economic, financial and industrial crises which have affected the industrial and trade activities, productivity and employment,” Ali said. He said the textile export sector, the major revenue generating sector to the tune of more than $13 billion per year, was in doldrums, crumbling and squeezing the exports.

Ali said that textile exports were plunging; thousands of workers were being laid-off and smaller units were pulling down the shutters.

“Textile industry has taken a severe hit at a time when many of the leading players have invested huge sums in upgrading infrastructure and expanding capacities, planning to meet the growing needs of the export market,” the association chairman said.