Export orders likely to drop by 50%: APTMA

LAHORE: The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab Chairman Adil Bashir has demanded of freezing the interest cost of loans and urged the State Bank of Pakistan to issue directions to banks for suspension of interest on the long-term as well as working capital loans/ advances for a period of 3 months from April 2020 till June 30, 2020. The Rs100 billion relief announced by the prime minister can be utilized to defray this cost, he added.
Also, he said the government should make arrangements for the deferment of instalments against all the loans for a period of one year and issue a clear Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to restart production and protection of jobs. He has proposed setting up of monitoring committees at the district and provincial levels to monitor the production activities at mills.
Payment of the utility bills of the textile industry should be deferred by three months, he added.
He said the government should also direct the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for immediate payment of all the sales tax refunds up to 80 percent of the claim within 72 hours of filing refund claims.
In case the lockdown continues beyond one month, he said, the government should share the burden of salaries from the funds of Social Security, Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution, Workers Welfare Funds, and such other arrangements under the control of the government.
He said major buying chains of textile products namely Inditex Group, JC Penney, Mango, H&M, GAP, Levis, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Nike, American Eagle, IKEA have already closed and many other chains and stores are in the process of closing down operations. The industry estimates suggest that more than 50% of the orders to be shipped in the next 30 days have already been deferred or cancelled. It would add pressure on the cash flow and force many industries to lay off workers especially when there are rampant reports that big buyers are filing bankruptcies. In addition to setbacks to exports, he said, the COVID-19 has also adversely impacted domestic commerce due to the lockdown and closing down of all the shopping outlets.
He has expressed the hope that the government would streamline the issues faced by the the textile industry without delay in the larger interest of exports, investment and employment in the country.

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