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'Pak Govt must address causes of falling exports'
Dec '15
Pakistan's textile industry continues to be unhappy with the government. Pakistan Apparel Forum Chairman Muhammad Jawed Bilwani has become the latest to join the chorus against the government, blaming it for not reigning in the high cost of utilities that have hit the country's textile exports hard.

“The government has not given due attention to the rising cost of utilities during the last two and a half years and this has now become a big hurdle in the way of increasing exports,” he said, and warned that unless the government evaluated the difference in the cost of manufacturing with regional textile exporting countries, it would not be able to understand fully the causes of declining exports, Pakistani newspapers have reported.

Bilwani said that the cost of business of competing nations industries was far lower than the local ones, hindering the country's exports growth. He feared the falling exports would pull down employment as well. "The government does not provide level playing field to the value-added textile sector despite knowing the importance of the sector in exports, clearly proves that it does not want the exports of the value-added textiles to flourish but on the contrary it wants to support the exports of raw material," he claimed.

He said if the major causes were not addressed, the situation would not improve. “The value-added sector requires a level playing field to compete with regional rivals, but due to the rising cost of manufacturing, the grievances of exporters, especially those producing finished goods, are reaching new heights.”

“If the problems are not addressed properly, exports would continue to fall and would resultantly create a serious issue of employment,” he added.

The textile industry constitutes more than 50 per cent of Pakistan's exports. The value-added textile sector has been providing millions of jobs to skilled and unskilled workers. However, instead of supporting export strategies of the value-added textile sector, the government now depends on raw material exporters.

“The cost of electricity in Pakistan is 86 per cent higher than Sri Lanka and 45 per cent higher than India and Bangladesh, while the gas price is 173 per cent higher than Bangladesh and 44.2 per cent higher than India,” claimed Bilwani.

Pakistan's gas prices for industries are 90 per cent higher than the US, which is one of the biggest buyers of Pakistani textile. Approximately, 50 per cent of Pakistan's textile exports go to the US.

During the first five months (July-November) of fiscal year 2015-16, textile exports declined 8.4 per cent to $5.2 billion from $5.7 billion in the same period of last year. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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