Apparel exporters hail yarn import from all land routes to overcome shortage

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ISLAMABAD,    (Parliament Times) :  The Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association has extended felicitation to Hammad Azhar on his appointment as Finance Minister and welcomed the historical decision of ECC meeting, held under his chair, allowing cotton yarn import from India to overcome industry‘s raw material shortage.

“The all value-added textile and apparel sectors also applaud Adviser to PM for Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood for his tireless efforts to get the summary approved by the Prime Minister and then from the ECC. Now he will present this ECC-approved summary to the cabinet for final approval. We assure the commerce captain that apparel sector will try to maintain the momentum of export growth after arrival of cotton yarn imports from all land routes,” a press statement from PRGMEA said on Thursday.

PRGMEA Central Chairman Sohail Sheikh and Chief Coordinator Ijaz Khokhar observed that Hammad Azhar rightly deserved this slot by virtue of his long and versatile experience of serving the country in various fields, as previously, he served as Federal Minister for Economic Affairs from July 2019 till April 2020 and Federal Minister of Industries and Production from April 2020 till March 2021.

Sohail Sheikh said that apparel industry is expecting a lot for export growth especially for SMEs, hoping that under his ministership the country would steer out of the multi-faceted financial challenges such as balance of payment; fiscal and debt sustainability, ease of doing business; rupee-dollar exchange instability; restructuring of tax administration and revival of manufacturing sector amidst third wave of corona pandemic.

Ijaz Khokhar was optimistic that during his tenure, the coordination between the value-added textile and apparel industry and Ministry of Finance would be further strengthened with the ultimate objective of maximizing foreign exchange earnings.

Appealing for duty and taxes free cotton yarn import from India through Wagah land route, he said the move would fully help control raw material of textile apparel industry. With low production, the country needed to import cotton in an effort to bridge the demand-supply gap, he added.

Sohail Sheikh said the decision will be positive for the apparel industry to convert imported yarn into value-added goods, exporting them to the international market instead of raw cotton yarn.

PRGEMA central chairman said the apparel sector was in a fix because of cotton shortage and its high prices in local market. Now the cotton rates will be stable and bridge the continued widening demand and supply gap.

“PRGMEA is positive that with Hammad Azhar’s vision and inspiration, the finance team will lead Pakistan to its new highs in export. Hammad Azhar with his excellent approach is also expected to initiate policies for promotion of value-added apparel industry.

“We also request a meeting with him and want to continue the constructive dialogue with Hammad to promote ease of doing business in the country,” he said.

He called for the approval of textile & apparel policy 2020-25 by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet as it is already late by one year.

Textile sector contributed about 65 percent to the country’s total exports, besides providing direct and indirect millions of jobs which required a proper policy, he added. He added that a long-term policy will provide investors a clear vision that the government of Pakistan is ready to support the apparel sector of Pakistan on long-term basis.

He was of the view that further delay in textile policy would result in delay or even backing out of investors from future local and foreign investment in the industry.

Moreover, to overcome liquidity crunch we request the new finance minister to ask FBR to clear all Sales Tax and Customs refunds at once so that industry can run in full capacity and play role of earning foreign exchange in a better way.