Thanks a bunch for joining us on Face2Face, Mr Ejaz! Getting along the discourse, how would you evaluate textile and garment industry performing presently as an earning member for country’s economy?
Textile industry is the mainstay of our economy. It accounts for around 9% of GDP, over 50% of merchandise exports and around 38% of the manufacturing sector workforce. Approximately 3.5 million direct labor force is employed by the textile industry. Indirect employment and unorganized sector employment is not accounted for. Both Textile & Clothing sector performed very well last year and posted pronominal profits. In spite of all odds the Industry even posted profits in the first six months of the current fiscal year. The textile industry is confronted with the menace of energy supply disruptions. Challenges include both, energy security and affordability coupled with high interest rate and spiraling inflation. I see a great potential for both textile and clothing industry, provided we are able to manage these challenges. I am confident we can double our capacities and exports in the shortest possible time.
So, to shoulder that goal, how does APTMA stand for the betterment of such a vital industry? What makes APTMA’s members different to those without APTMA?
APTMA is the premier industry association and ready to play the role of a catalyst, driving all subsectors of the industry under one platform towards path of growth. Common industry challenges are being taken together for public advocacy. The Government is giving due importance to the textile industry as it has the potential to perform in the larger interest of the economy. It is unfortunate for those not being its members. However, legislation is under process for all those not registered with the respective associations.
APTMA has been successful since last two years in achieving tangible results on issues confronted by the industry, and thus its members are largely benefitted. The association successfully managed securing free market mechanism (no duty, no quota). Policy on Agriculture Research for vertical and horizontal increase in the cotton production, zero rating of sales tax for the textile value chain, energy security, short term and long term planning, public advocacy on policy- implementation divide and Market access for the textile and clothing exports to USA, and EU. Members of APTMA benefitted from what APTMA achieved for them.
Taking the talk to a global context, can you highlight the happenings that, in your view, are crucial in giving a turning point to the industry some years ahead?
Globally, I am sure Pakistan textile industry sees a light at the end of the tunnel. China is withdrawing from few textile areas as they are no more cost effective. Pakistan being cost effective in cotton based textiles would defiantly grab share in such areas. Hopefully, if we get sizeable cotton crop next year, starting August, I see revival of industry currently closed down. It would be a stepping stone for rest of the sub sectors of the value chain to benefit from. If trade with India takes place on fair trading basis it would be a win-win situation for both countries. India should provide market access without tariff barriers to our textile products for domestic consumptions.
Recently, your nation also has concluded Budget 2011-12. As the face of textile and garment industry, how would you comment on the budgetary announcements in the sake of the industry?
Budget 2011-12 has not impacted the textile industry, as APTMA played its effective role in managing the threats, in particular withdrawal of exemption of zero rating.
For sector’s impediments to count, as a mentor, which all aspects worry you? And, what strengths do you bank on?
Energy security, affordability and high interest rates due to growing inflation are major impediments for Industrial growth. Competitive basic textile industry is a source of great strength, I would like to bank on. I am also confident things would change in not distant future to obtain market access. Otherwise, market diversification is the answer.
True. Energy Crisis is getting on nerves for many countries. On association level, what measures has APTMA coined to voice up and knock down the challenges imposed?
APTMA has been very active on energy front for achieving energy security and affordability. Energy efficiency program imparted to avail potential of energy saving by 15-20%. Short term and medium term projects are being planned to meet energy requirements of the textile industry. Textile industry is also finding opportunities for investment in alternate sources of energy.
Skill enhancements are also pivotal to any industry’s good growth. Has APTMA any credits to itself on this front?
APTMA has built and is managing two premier textile institutes and a university (Textile University, Faisalabad and Textile Institute of Pakistan, Karachi) producing outstanding engineers for the industry. APTMA management is planning to enter into middle and lower level management training centers for skill development.
Technology is irrefutably a pillar to growth in the sector. On e-commerce – the next global language front, how would you advocate your members to get equipped?
To be honest, I would admit our industry is slow in adopting I.T to a considerable extent. However, larger groups have taken lead in the context and the rest are yet to follow them. I see an opportunity for Indian IT experts in Pakistan.
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 Fibre2Fashion.com.