KARACHI: The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) has opposed the demand of the Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research for an immediate ban on cotton import from India.
“The observation of the Senate committee that Pakistan has sufficient stock of cotton is incorrect,” commented Aptma Chairman Tariq Saud, according to a press release.
“The country’s agriculture economy will be ruined if 0.5 million bales of cotton is not imported from India. It is a misconception that adequate cotton stocks are available with the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP),” he said.
Saud pointed out that TCP officials had acknowledged in a meeting on April 28 this year, which was headed by the secretary commerce, that they had stocks of only 75,900 bales, which were from the 2014-15 season.
He asked the Senate committee that instead of suggesting a ban on cotton imports, it should take up the matter of crop failure and discuss ways to prevent such failures in the future.
At present, the industry needs 16 million bales per year whereas local production stands at less than 10 million bales. “Who is going to fill the gap of six million bales?” Saud asked.
The Aptma chairman said cotton harvest this year stood lower by 34% or 5.103 million bales compared to the crop size of 2014-15 and placing restrictions on the import of 0.5 million bales from India through the Wagah border would only add to the woes of spinning industry.
“This shortage of raw material will also force a number of spinning units to stop production, which could leave thousands of workers unemployed,” he said.
Saud claimed that the industry was paying about Rs800 million in cotton cess, which was meant for research work on the cotton crop. However, the country has continued to face a shortfall and is compelled to make imports to meet 25% of its needs.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2016.