LAHORE: After a bad year in 2014, the textile sector of the country has taken a turn for the worse. It is not only losing its grip on the export market but its share in the domestic market is also slipping.
There are multiple reasons behind this dwindling trend, especially in Punjab, which accounts for nearly 70% of the total textile units operating in Pakistan.
High cost, energy shortages, no zero-rating, absence of institutional support, policy and implementation divide are a few of them.
Since the past few years, the uncertainty in the textile industry has hindered the replacement of old technology while investment for new machinery was limited, despite the grant of the GSP Plus status.
According to industry sources, between 2008-2013, only one million new spindles and 1,319 shuttle-less looms were added to the sector. While in comparison, India added over 14 million spindles and 36,410 new shuttle-less looms during the same period and another 5 million spindles are in the pipeline.
Bangladesh, a country that produces zero cotton, has added nearly two million spindles and 22,370 new shuttle-less looms in the same period.
The old age of machinery is another reason for the muddle in the country’s textile sector and this is due to low or no new investments in machinery and technology.
“However, the main reason remains the lack of government interest in its own drafted textile policy – this has resulted in stagnant exports for Pakistan while India has managed to boost its exports to $39 billion,” said Gohar Ejaz, former chairman of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association.
The country’s new textile policy 2014-19 outlays only $640 million for the sector, which according to industry experts is peanuts, whereas India for its five-year plan 2012-17 has allocated $5 billion for its textile sector.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 9th, 2015.
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