STAFF REPORT: Exporters of various textile products have demanded from the government to reduce the tariff of electricity and gas for their industry to reduce the cost of doing business.
The demand was made during a meeting of Federal Textile Board held on Saturday under the chairmanship of Federal Minister for Commerce and Textile Muhammad Pervaiz Malik and State Minister for Commerce and Textile Haji Akram Ansari.
The meeting was also attended by the Textile Division secretary along with Ministry of National Food Security and Research secretary, senior officials of Textile Division, Commerce Division, Ministry of Industries and Production and Finance Division. The chairmen and senior representatives of various textile associations, including All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), Pakistan Readymade Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA), Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA), All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA) and others also attended the meeting.
The meeting discussed a multitude of issues being faced by the largest export industry of Pakistan and the facilitation given by the federal government. Representatives of the associations appreciated the federal government for providing policy and budgetary facilitations to textile industry of the country which resulted in an increase of textile exports as compared to last year.
Federal Minister Pervaiz Malik informed the meeting that the government had allocated Rs14 billion till date for the implementation of Phase-I of the prime minister’s package of incentives. He further informed that the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet amended the prime minister’s package of incentives to further facilitate the textile sector, adding that now 50 per cent of the drawback will be provided without condition of increment and remaining 50 per cent will be provided if the exporter achieves an increase of 10 per cent or more in exports during FY 2017-18 as compared to FY 2016-17.
The meeting was also informed that to further facilitate the exporters and to diversify the markets, an additional 2 per cent shall be allowed for exports to non-traditional markets – Africa, Latin America, non-EU European countries, Commonwealth of the Independent States and Oceania. The minister also informed that relevant notification order had already been issued by the Textile Division.
The textile associations requested that while devising a medium to long-term plan for the textile sector, the government should consider a number of recommendations such as reduction in tariffs by withdrawing tariff rationalisation surcharge, GIDC, disparity in gas prices across Pakistan, sales tax and customs refunds and extending zero-rating facility to packing material and power looms.
The federal minister requested the associations to diversify markets by accessing non-traditional markets for which government is also providing facilitation. He further requested the associations to encourage new investment feasibility studies, come-up with proposals for social and environmental compliance, skill development, research and development, and product and market diversification.
He also said that preparations for the GSP+ review were excellent and in this regard, all the federal and provincial departments were on board and very well prepared. He highlighted various efforts of his ministry to ensure smooth review.
Pervaiz Malik also directed the Textile Division secretary to immediately take up the matters with ministries and departments concerned and also asked the food security secretary to examine the cotton imports procedure and for early issuance of Plant Breeders Right Rules.
The minister, in his closing remarks, said that the government had taken bold steps to reduce the cost of doing business and in this connection, this meeting had been called to finalise the proposals of the textile sector. He added that he would take up these matters with the prime minister to provide a platform for the development of the textile sector.
State Minister for Commerce and Textile Haji Akram Ansari informed the house that to provide further facilitation to textile sector, short-term policy measures should be taken on a priority basis, especially rationalisation of energy prices.