uncertainty and negatively affecting the Tetile Industry

Pakistan Prime Minister urged to appoint minister for textile

GMT 04:39 2015 Friday ,03 April

Sriyadithatextile - Pakistan Prime Minister urged to appoint minister for textile

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
TAHIR AMIN

The absence of a textile minister and the proposed merger of textile and commerce ministry under the Ministry of Commerce is creating uncertainty and negatively affecting the major export earner of the country, sources told to Business Recorder.

Official sources said the ministry's performance lacked co-ordination after Senator Abbas Khan Afridi left as Minister last month on completion of his tenure as senator and no new appointment has so far been made to fill the slot. Most of the important decisions regarding textile policy, Export Development Fund (EDF) and budget preparation exercise for the next financial year are hanging in the balance.

Further, the Cabinet Committee on Restructuring (CCoR) in its meeting held last week proposed to club Textile division and Commerce division under the umbrella of Ministry of Commerce. The proposal has been sent to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif; however, no decision has been made so far.

Talking to Business Recorder, different textile stakeholders strongly opposed the proposed merger of textile ministry into commerce ministry, saying that it would hurt the pace of textile exports growth. Textile industry is a complicated and vast subject and it needs a separate ministry. They further said that keeping in view the strategic importance of textile sector, the government established a separate Ministry of Textile Industry (MINTEX) in September 2004. Pakistan's textile industry comprises cotton spinning (yarn), cotton weaving (cloth), cotton fabric, fabric processing, home textiles, towels, hosiery and knitwear and apparels. These are manufactured both on large scale as well as by small & medium cottage units.

Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) S M Tanveer said that textile contributes 55 percent to the country's total exports. However, after merger of textile with Commerce ministry, it is feared that the former would not get the required attention and may compromise its performance and overall exports.

Ijaz Khokhar of Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PRGMEA) said that the experiment of textile and commerce ministry merger failed twice in the past. Textile has become the most important sector especially after grant of the GSP plus status by the EU as 75 percent products incentivized under the package relate to this sector and it needs an extraordinary focus. He further said that all the regional competitors including India, China and Bangladesh have separate and dedicated ministries of textile and Pakistan must follow the suit. Kokhar urged the Prime Minister to immediately appoint a person who has experience of the sector as textile minister without further delay to regularise the major export sector.

The Chairmen of different textile export associations including Muhammad Jawed Bilwani Chairman Pakistan Apparel Forum, Muhammad Zubair Motiwala Chairman Council of All Pakistan Textiles Association and Muhammad Babar Khan Chairman Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association appealed to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to immediately appoint a federal minister for textile industry so that the major issues of the sector are speedily resolved in the larger interest of the country's exports.

However, some analysts said that the proposed plan of the government to merge ministry of textile industry into commerce may help in reducing non-development expenditure and boost co-ordination between the two divisions.

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