Lahore: The GSP plus facility does not seem to reap the expected growth rate of increasing textile exports to $14 billion, particularly due to unavailability of gas and electricity to the textile industries. It was observed by Mr. Shah Faisal Afridi, President Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry in a press statement issued here Wednesday.
He told that the overall exports growth in the first quarter after GSP plus status remained at two to three percent as compared to estimated seven to eight percent. But, he lamented that in the case of textile sector, the overall growth in the first quarter remained in negative zone, as the Punjab-based textile industry was on the verge of collapse because of unavailability of gas and electricity.
He was of the view that without settling the internal constraints particularly power and gas shortages, Punjab-based value-added industry and GSP Plus status would be of no use as around 10 million workers are attached with the textile industry directly and indirectly and 70 percent of the industry is located in Punjab, he said adding that the government should ensure energy supply, both electricity and gas, to the textile industry to avert the situation fast leading to massive unemployment and frustrations among employees as well as employer of this sector.
President PCJCCI informed that Pakistan had ratified almost all the conventions but the most critical aspect of these conventions was that the EU through the unnamed third parties from civil society or non-government organizations will strictly monitor the compliance therefore “If the situation does not improve then there will be no increase in the capacity of textile sector to generate surplus export and at the end of the day, Pakistan will not be able to reap the fruit of GSP+ status.
He further pointed out that the “Award of GSP Plus status shows the confidence of international markets in the excellent quality of Pakistani products”. He mentioned that the country is sure to become a center of investment for foreign investors, because duty-free privileges and the built-in resourcefulness of the country will definitely attract many local and foreign investors towards the industrial sector of Pakistan.
Faisal Afridi explicated that, EU trade concessions could benefit the country’s largest manufacturers and exporters, the textile and clothing industry, by enabling its products to compete with those of regional competitors like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He added that before GSP Plus, our exports were facing stiff competition from China, India, Brazil, and Bangladesh and after GSP Plus status Pakistan industry stakeholders were optimistic to enhance export business in the world market.
Faisal Afridi lamented that till now Pakistan is unable to complete its share of the Pak-Iran gas pipeline project that could be the speediest and viable way to overcome the situation of gas shortage in country. The project could enable Pakistan to generate up to 4000 megawatts of electricity as soon as the pipeline is completed added Afridi.
He said that besides improving law and order and providing unabated gas and electricity supply, the government would have to relax import policy to empower value-added textile industry to get the maximum benefit of GSP plus Status. Moreover, the government should introduce special power tariff for textile industry which must be regionally competitive, said Afridi.
He said adding that textile and commerce ministers should conduct a review meeting on monthly basis to discus developments and the issues concerning GSP Plus. He suggested that all stakeholders of textile sector should be invited in such meetings so as to get their feedback and develop required corrective measures to increase country exports under the facility of GSP Plus.
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