PRGMEA calls for lowering production cost at regional level

Lahore: The Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PRGMEA) has suggested the government to take measures for bringing down cost of doing business to a level of Pakistan’s regional competitors in order to survive in tough competition in global market.

PRGMEA Chairman, Ijaz Khokhar, and Vice Chairman, Naseer Malik, in a joint statement, said that Pakistan’s textile exports were once very close to Indian textile exports few years back. But with 5% industrial growth rate in our neighboring country, its annual textile exports have crossed USD33billion mark mainly due to conducive policies.

Ijaz Khokhar said that China added further 35.29 million spindles; while India added 14.2 million and Bangladesh 1.98 million spindles in textile sector during 2008-13 periods. In Pakistan, only 1.02 million spindles were added in five years.

Comparing the results of first five year textile policy 2009-14 with India’s 11th five-year plan 2007-12, he said that implementation of country’s first ever textile policy 2009-14 with outlay of Rs 188 billion was implemented just 15% which results 0% growth in textile exports, only 1 million spindle addition, no new jobs created and world market share dropped from 2.2% to 1.8%. On the other hand, India’s 11th five year plan 2007-12 with outlay of Rs.140 billion was implemented by 115%, bringing 76% increase in exports, 14 million spindle addition, creation of 16million direct job and increase in world market share from 3.5% to 5%.

PRGMEA Chairman said that as per the regional comparison of cost of doing business, it is evident that Pakistan’s wages, interest rates, tariff of electricity, gas and water is much higher creating hurdles for smooth business.

Ijaz Khokhar said that the value-added textile export sector was vital with 45 percent of total exports of the country and contributing the major portion 84 percent of the textile exports consisting of apparels, knitted and woven garments, bed-wear, made-ups, processed fabric, knitted and woven fabric, towel etc.

Moreover the value-added textile export sector generates the largest employment of almost 34 percent of nation’s total employment, he added. PRGMEA VC Naseer Malik said that without introducing the culture of value-addition, Pakistan would never be able to compete in the international market. He said that Pakistan is far behind the other countries when it comes to earning the value fetched per million bales. He stated that Pakistan earns $1.17 billion from one million bales while Bangladesh earns $6 billion, China $7.09 and South Korea earns $10.68 billion from the same quantity of bales.

Naseer Malik said that Pakistan, the fourth largest cotton producer in the world, is termed as a raw material supplier. Country produces 13.4 million bales per year and if we even convert 50 percent of 13.4 million bales we can fetch price like Bangladesh. He said due to non-payment of sale tax refund and custom rebate the exporters faced financial losses.

He stressed the need for creating a stable environment with more market access to deal with competitiveness issue as country’s textile industry has lost its viability against regional competitors. The value-added textile industry is the only hope for revival of country’s economy which is currently jolted by high cost of doing business.