LAHORE         -         The government decision of electricity supply at regionally competitive rate of 7.5 cents per kwh and gas at 6.5 dollars per mmbtu to the export sector will give a significant boost to the value-added textile exports. In a joint meeting of the Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PHMA) and Pakistan Ready Made Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA), which was also attended by a large number of exporters, the leadership expressed satisfaction over the decision, saying the move will help enhance the exports drastically. They also called for ease of doing business, lowering cost of production, solution of liquidity crunch through early refunds payment, long term and consistent energy tariff policy and relaxed import policy for industrial raw materials so that industrialization could promoted and exports could be enhanced.

PHMA vice chairman Shafiq Butt, addressing the meeting, said that the apparel sector is performing well through increase in exports and should be encouraged through making it truly zero-rated for its whole value chain. Regarding ease of doing business, he added that various provincial departments including Employees’ Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI), Social Security, Women Welfare, Environment Department should facilitate the manufacturers and exporters in a better way. “We request for easy and workable formula in the contribution of EOBI, Social Security etc.” he maintained.

PRGMEA regional chairman Sohail Sheikh said that Pakistan’s core issue was high cost of doing business which rendered its industrial production uncompetitive, suggesting the government to work on bringing around significant improvements in ease and cost of doing business for the export industry. The apparel sector leadership said that all stuck-up claims of the exporters i.e.-DLTL, DDT, Customs Rebates, Sales Tax refunds etc. should be released.

The liquidity crunch was a major stumbling block in the way of improving exports, they maintained. Demanding the restoration of zero rating regime, he suggested that the Sales Tax regime for export sector should be totally separated from the local business and that refund of Sales tax to exporters be ensured within 72 hours of the filing of claim.

The apparel sector is showing regular growth in exports and should be encouraged through long term policy measurers so that foreign exchange earnings for Pakistan could be increased.