He said that as a result of growth-led initiatives of the government, the country’s exports surged by 13.1% to in July-March 2017-18 as compared to the same period of the last year. The main driver of growth was the value-added textile sector as exports of ready-made garments went up 12.56% during the period in value and 12.85% in quantity while those of knitwear edged up 14.12% in value and 3.52% in quantity during these nine months.
Exports of bed wear went up 4.99% in value and 3.16% in quantity; whereas exports of made-up articles, excluding towels, increased by 7%. He termed the positive growth in exports as a welcome sign for an economy struggling to contain falling foreign exchange reserves. However, he underlined the need for continuity of DDT scheme allowed under the PM package. Production of exportable surplus is the need of the hour, he said and added that revival of US$ 4 billion closed production capacity is really a big a challenge.
Only an enabling environment can attract prospective investors to undertake new investment initiatives by the textile industry, he asserted. He urged the government to continue DDT scheme for further three years. This will generate approx 10% annual growth in value added textile exports and would add US$ 1.5 billion in each year, he said.
The PTEA chairman urged the government for immediate payment of stuck-up liquidity in refund regime to get maximum industrial growth and significant increase in exports as cash flow crunch is negatively impacting the export-oriented textile industry. Giving details, he said that 30 billion rupees of textile exporters are held in sales tax regular refund regime; whereas 10 billion rupees are held on account of custom rebate and 15 billion rupees are held under income tax credit. Similarly, incentives allowed under textile policy 2009-14 are also unpaid as Rs20 billion are outstanding under TUF schemes, he said. However, he added, Rs10 billion under mark-up support and Rs3 billion are stuck up under DLTL scheme. Furthermore, an amount of Rs21 billion is also unpaid against duty drawback of taxes under Prime Minister Trade enhancement initiative, he noted.
Vice Chairman Ammar Saeed termed value added textile sector as the backbone of the economy with great potential for earning foreign exchange. He urged the government for immediate release of blocked refunds to enable the textile exporters to retain their hard earned export markets at this time of tough competition.
The government, at several times, set deadlines of liquidating the long outstanding refunds of the textile industry but still huge amounts are outstanding and delay in release of funds had triggered serious liquidity crunch for cash starved textile exporters, he said. This is having adverse impact on the employment and the economy of the country as textile industry is unable to tap its potential in accordance with capacity, he said.
Regional competing countries are rapidly multiplying their exports just because of the edge they have on the cost of doing business. Pragmatic policies in consultation with stakeholders need to be formulated to reduce the cost of business by fixing rates of inputs in line with competing countries in the global market to create a level playing field, he suggested.
He said finance is imperative to run the wheels of industry and without it, no one could even think to run industry. The government should set its priorities right and accord preferential treatment to boost the exports and generate industrial activities, he demanded.