Interview with Shehzad Salim

Shehzad Salim
Shehzad Salim

Bangladesh is competing with Pakistan’s textile industry. What are those measures that Pakistan should take to make strides in this industry?

Pakistan needs to address its energy problems on a war footing if it wants its industry to prosper. Now the industry is taking measures to address this problem on its own and investing in renewable energy sources. In contrast to Bangladesh, Pakistan’s textile industry is much more flexible and has a big advantage in that the supply chain is complete, modern and efficient, raw materials are grown/produced locally; as is the case of cotton and polyester. There is a huge market for small and medium sized orders and the industry needs to focus on this segment, which will not only bring better profit margins but would allow adding more value to our products. The need of the hour for the sector is to invest in R&D, styling, color forecasting, etc and integrating these across the board within the industry. Pakistan needs to focus on products where it has definite advantage, like denim, jeans/trousers etc, namely bottom and diversify with the same group.

However, how do you see the export scenario?

Due to the recession in the EU and weak economy in US, which are our traditional export destinations, Pakistan’s textile exports registered a decline of about 10 percent in the last fiscal year. The European and the US market may remain subdued for another year or two due to their weak economies; therefore we have to shift our focus towards non-traditional markets like China, India, Brazil, ASEAN and Africa. In the near term, I see exports going back up to previous year levels, basically due to a greater stability in raw material prices, thus enabling seller to enter into longer contracts at cheaper rates with their buyers. Increased trade with neighboring countries and non-traditional markets is now required to offset the declines from our traditional partners. However, all these markets are not easy to excess and thus trading with them will take time.

How does PRGMEA encourage to RMG industry and exporters from Pakistan? Please elaborate.

PRGMEA is working in many fronts for the development of Pakistan’s garment industry and for growth of our exports as well as we provide active research based feedback to the government for trade related issues and trade policy matters. Further, we regularly highlight impediments to trade and actively take-up all matters concerning our members in particular and our industry in general. Besides, it is very active in development of skilled labor force for the garment industry and is currently running two vocational training institutes and a third is under construction. Moreover, we are also participating in several sustainable production programs for energy efficiency and environment management systems and greener production. PRGMEA was instrumental in lowering the trade barriers with India and fully supported the idea of enhanced trade between the two countries and the region in general.
Published on: 25/09/2012

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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