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Only good government policies can help revive textile sector
01
May '09
The Pakistan textile and garment industry went through the best period of its history in the 80's, 90's and the first half of 2000. But a host of crisis like gas and electricity shortages, rising financial costs and now the global economic recession has crippled the sector.

Value of exports in the period July-January of the current fiscal year have fallen by nearly 6 percent, but it is only the resilience and survival instinct of the textile industry that has stood it in good stead, otherwise export figures could have been far more worse.

The Pakistani Government has been talking about a new textile policy which will address all relevant issues, but it is still to see the light of the day and now the release of the new policy paper has been postponed to June 2009.

Pakistan is considered a major raw cotton producer in the country, but cotton production in the country has been stagnant at 12 million bales (1 bale=170 kg) since the last few years, while consumption of cotton has increased considerably in the same period.

Exports of cotton yarn in the period July-January fell by a considerable 15 percent, that of woven garments by 12 percent, bed-linen by 10 percent and knitted garments by 3 percent. The only saving grace was exports of cotton fabrics and towels which registered positive growth.

Even before the recessionary trends unfolded, the sector was plagued by massive and unscheduled electric power cuts which led to huge production losses. To make it worse, supply of gas also fell short of the demands of the industry.

The sector was also bearing very high financial costs in the form of lofty interest rates and also high mark-ups. It also faced labour unrest in 2008. If all this was not enough came along the global recessionary trends to break the back of the sector.

The government though also has done its bit. It has been paying a R&D subsidy, though payments have stopped coming in since July 2008. The apex bank also financed imports of machinery at concessional terms.

But is this enough! Is a question asked by most experts, for a sector which contributes nearly 60 percent to overall exports revenues and is also the highest employment generator by providing direct and indirect employment to around 2.5 million people?

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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