LAHORE          -             The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab Chairman Adil Bashir has thanked Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar for reopening the textile industry value chain in the larger interest of the country’s exports and much-needed employment in these testing times. He was addressing a press conference at the APTMA Punjab office on Saturday. Chairman All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association (APTPMA) Pervaiz Lala was also present on the occasion.

Chairman APTMA Punjab said a delegation of the Punjab-based textile associations had called on Chief Minister Punjab and briefed him about the measures taken by the textile industry to avoid the spread of coronavirus at factory premises. He said Chief Minister Punjab has expressed his satisfaction over the arrangements and allowed the textile value chain to resumes operations throughout Punjab. He said the textile value chain was grateful to the government of Punjab for taking a prudent decision. This decision of the government would save hundreds and thousands of textile workers from layoff, he said.

According to him, the textile industry would follow all the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in letter and spirit. The member mills of APTMA have already adopted all precautionary measures at mills during the processing of the orders on the floor by providing masks, sanitizers and other PPE to labour besides observing complete cleanliness.

He said it is a matter of great satisfaction that the Covid-19 situation is much better in Pakistan as compared to the US and Europe due to timely steps taken by the government. He said the number of confirmed cases is 18000 while the number of deaths is 417 today, which is far better than the developed world.

He said the prime minister has also been pointing out since day one that Pakistan’s economy cannot afford to keep people out of job for long. Therefore, employment generation is very essential while dealing with the pandemic, he said and added that the APTMA delegation had requested to the Chief Minister Punjab for reopening of the complete textile value chain to keep the employment opportunities intact.

He said this is the time to look for the survival options and the Punjab government’s decision of reopening would be helpful in this regard.

He said the textile industry contributes to 60 per cent of the country’s exports and it has already proven that precautionary measures have been fully observed during the permission granted by the government to process the semi-finished orders.

He said the textile value chain appreciated the Punjab government for realising the importance of the textile industry in terms of employment generation and its contribution to the country’s exports and domestic demand. He said the Punjab government has allowed reopening of the textile value chain subject to a strict observance of the SOPs, which the textile industry was already following. He said the majority of the textile labour resides in labour colonies situated within the factory premises where strict compliance of SOP’s can be done. He again thanked the Punjab government for the proactive approach and dialogue with the industry.

He has also appreciated the efforts and the positive role played by the Punjab Minister for Industries and Commerce Aslam Iqbal regarding the reopening of the textile sector in the province.