SIALKOT: The Pakistan’s two major value-added export-oriented bodies of the apparel sector have welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Sialkot on Dec 9, saying the plan indicates that the government accords great importance to business community and making full efforts to boost economic growth in the country.
PRGMEA Central Chairman Sohail A. Sheikh, Chief Coordinator Ijaz Khokhar and PHMA zonal chairman Faizal Mehboob Sheikh, said that the two apparel sector’s associations, representing export share of $6 billion across the country and creating direct and indirect jobs of around 25 million, are finalizing a joint presentation to be shared with the PM during his meeting with the business community of this vital economic and industrial hub.
Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association central chairman Sohail A. Sheikh said that the PM visit to Sialkot points out that he has accepted a long demand of PRGMEA, taking the ownership of export sector at a crucial time when export orders are diverting from India, China and Vietnam to Pakistan amidst global pandemic. This is the time to grab this huge opportunity of lifting exports, he added.
“We appreciate that with a view to facilitate exports, Prime Minister Imran Khan has already approved the formation of the National Export Development Board. The board will be headed by the Prime Minister himself under the Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2020-25, holding its meetings monthly where all the issues relating to Pakistan’s export will be discussed,” he said. “But our demand is to also take SMEs onboard through this platform, as they are the backbone of the economy and represent more than 90 percent of the industry of Pakistan,” he added.
Sohail A. Sheikh said that Sialkot has been contributing almost 10 percent to Pakistan’s total exports with annual exports of $2.5 billion.
He pledged that value-added textile industry was ready to work closely with the government with a view to enhance the exports and revive the growth momentum.
Chief Coordinator Ijaz Khokhar added that the share of exports would be further enhanced to improve Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves and revive the economy after PM’s visit to Sialkot and his close interaction with the business community.
He said that apart from promoting exports, the businessmen of this city have made useful contributions to the development of the local economy by establishing dry port and airport on self-finance basis. He said the model of Sialkot’s private sector can be projected across Pakistan to pick up the economic growth.
Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association zonal chairman Faisal Mehboob Sheikh said that Sialkot has successfully maintained its share in the world market even in pandemic days through product diversification and value-addition.
He applauded Imran Khan’s prudent decision to allow industry continue operations even in the wake of Covid-19 along with apt measures of containing this epidemic through smart-lockdowns. He said that this timely step of the government would yield better on economy besides boosting industrial production and accelerating exports.
“We are expecting a historic package of incentives by the PM during his visit to Sialkot, leading to a record industrial production of export sectors,” he said.
The PRGMEA Central Chairman said that export-oriented sector doesn’t want subsidies. “We demand only level-playing field, enabling business environment by reducing our cost of doing business by establishing smooth global supply chain mechanism and facilitation of duty-free imports of raw materials for exports.