Textile minister underscores need for value-addition

Federal Minister for Textile Industry Abbas Khan Afridi said Pakistan produces over 13 million bales of cotton and by converting one million bales to $ 2 billion value-added items the country could achieve the envisaged target of $ 26 billion in five years under the new textile policy (2014-19).

Afridi made these remarks in Aaj TV”s “Paisa Bolta Hai”.

Javed Balvani, Chairman Pakistan Apparel Forum (PAF), concurred and averred that textile export earnings can jump phenomenally if conversion of per cotton bales to value added textile products, is enhanced. Balvani said that Bangladesh converts one million bales of cotton to value added items and fetches about $6 billion through exports, against Pakistan which converts one million bales to bring in only $1.16 billion by marketing value-added textiles items.

He further said that due to negligence and inconsistency in successive governments” policies, textile sector of Pakistan is lagging far behind the other competitors in the region. The situation further added fuel to the fire by rebate and incentives, as well as subsidised tariff provided to the textile sector by other neighbouring countries.

Balvani said government only needs to copy the policy of Bangladesh for textile sector; and its export could easily go up manifold. Afridi in the same TV programme seconded chairman PAF”s assertion and said that Pakistan could easily increase textile exports as the whole textile chain from cotton crop to transportation could be managed locally. He further said that cotton crop does not grow in Bangladesh and the country imports it, but manages to convert it into value-added exports which bring a handsome amount of foreign exchange.

The Minister said that in the past more focus was given to export of raw materials instead of value-added goods and resultantly the industry lagged far behind other competitors in the region. He said there was a gap of only one billion dollars in textile exports earnings between India and Pakistan in 1990; however Indian exports have reached $30 billion while Pakistan”s are stagnant at $13 billion.

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