KARACHI (APP) - Federal Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Senator Shaukat Tareen on Saturday underlined the need for effective measures and revised strategies from the Government and private sector to ensure high GDP growth. The country needs high economic growth for catering to un-employment and to improve income level of the people, the Minister said while speaking at a seminar titled Five Year Textile Policy and its Implementation organised by Engro Polymer and Chemicals Limited here. Among others Central Chairman, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Senior Vice-President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Muhammad Jawed Bilwani, Chairman KATI, Mian Zahid Hussain, Patron-in-Chief of KATI, SM Muneer, President National Bank of Pakistan Syed Ali Raza as well as some members of the diplomatic corps was present. Tareen said that for high GDP growth, new machinery/ equipment and modern technology would have to be placed in our industry besides skill development of the manpower. He said last year Pakistans 2 percent growth was due to agriculture. He said, however the economic indicators were improving. Foreign Exchange Reserves have crossed 14.3 billion dollars, Stock Exchanges are functioning well, Pakistans credit rating is now better and inflation is coming down. He said the textile industry has the largest share in the countrys economy in terms of employment, taxes and exports. He regretted that in the past textile industry was not given due attention and support by the policy makers. For the first time, through a 5-year textile policy we have tried to remove all the deficiencies/ imbalances, the Minister said. The textile policy has come up with many incentives for value addition. He said the Government was in constant dialogue with USA and European Union for market access to Pakistani goods. Diversifying to new markets like Far East, Latin American, Africa was very much needed to increase our exports. For reducing the cost of doing business, he said the Government was trying to cut duties, reduce tariffs and improve productivity of manpower through various training programmes. Workers Welfare Fund would also utilised for establishing skill development centres. The Government has decided to reduce mark-up as soon as the inflation come down, the Minister said. The Government has been trying to reduce fiscal deficit as well, he asserted. He said we would have to ensure quality checks on exports besides cutting cost of doing business to become further competitive in regional and international markets. Federal Finance Minister said the Cabinet Committee, led by him, would be monitoring implementation of textile policy. I have full faith in textile entrepreneurs to make best use of textile policy and bring real change in this industry, he said. Federal Minister for Textile Rana Muhammad Farooq Saeed Khan said the first-ever textile policy of the country was an effort to pursue the vision and philosophy of his leader Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who had described textile industry as the backbone of the countrys economy. In 1988, she had also extended maximum possible support and facilities to the textile industry. He recalled that during inauguration of Sialkot Dry Port in her second tenure, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had said textile can make us economically strong. He thanked President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for their special interest and support to textile policy formulation and providing full financial cover to make it a real success. He also acknowledged Shaukat Tareens support and cooperation in formulating the textile policy and chalking out a road map for its implementation. He said the textile policy is only a refined /reformed shape of the recommendation from business community and other stakeholders. The Textile Minister categorically said the textile policy would be implemented in its letter and spirit. The SROs have been issued in this regard and more would be issued soon. This five-year policy actually will take care of textile industry for the next fifteen years, he said adding that next Textile Minister would have to do more to stay in office. We are working to resolve gas, electricity and infrastructure issues of textile industry to achieve the objectives of textile policy, the Textile Minister said. Federal Secretary for Textile, Dr Waqar Masood highlighting the salient features of textile policy said the centrality of textile in economy demands special attention. Textile is a long chain from cotton growing to finished textile goods. We have to find imbalances in the chain, he said. China earns $ 4000 per cotton bale and India $ 2000 per bale, whereas Pakistan earns only $ 1,000 per bale, he informed. He said spinning sector has much capacity but it needs up gradation. A big challenge for his Ministry is on the weaving side. 90 percent weaving is done in informal sector. Hence, structural changes were needed. Pakistan is the poorest user of man-made fibre. China uses 64%, India 40% and Pakistan uses only 20 percent. We have to provide decent level of production for man-made fibre, said the Federal Secretary. He said the Government has to build a huge capacity of textile industry including introduction of production- friendly labour laws. The Federal Secretary identified technology and infrastructure up gradation and skill development as very essential for boosting textile industry. The Government was taking care of these, he added. Federal Advisor on Textile Industry, Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig said during the process of formulating this policy, he personally had meetings with all the textile associations throughout Pakistan. We have prepared draft proposal and recommendation to the government taking into account the challenges the textile industry is confronted with and their solutions, he said. He said the policy has come into effect from September 1, 2009. The relevant SROs have been issued for new Duty Drawbacks, that is, 1% on fabric, 2% on home textile, 3% on garments. Also 2.5% reduction in Export Refinance Mark-up and 5% interest disbursement on long-term outstanding loans up to August 31, 2009. Besides, the State Bank has recently introduced another scheme of concessional financing for modernisation and upgradation of technology of plant and machinery of ginning sector in order to have quality cotton. President Engro Polymer and Chemicals Asif Qadir spoke of the objectives of the seminar.