LAHORE - Different export-oriented industrial associations have lauded Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for announcing the long awaited exports package.

“Although too late, but this positive step of the government will help the whole textile sector which had become uncompetitive in the international market due to higher cost of production in our country as compared with the other competitor countries,” they added.

PHMA Chairman Adil Butt said, “Benefit of GSP Plus, moved from the European Union, had been virtually nullified due to our incompetiveness as compared with Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and particularly Vietnam. Now hopefully the value added apparel export sector will pick up and stand on its feet, he added. He said the declining Euro had thrown a big blow on the face of industry and thus the exporters to European countries had to bear big losses.

He said the export package will provide support to the dwindling apparel export sector and can put it on right track. However, such adhoc measures are not permanent solution for industry ailments, he added. The government should therefore undertake in-depth study of the issues of industry and provide permanent solutions to the problems for long term sustainability, he suggested. He also impressed upon industry to make best use of the exports package provisions and try to remove the bottlenecks in the growth of textile exports.

Pakistan Industrial & Traders Associations Front (PIAF), while expressing its concern over the diminishing exports, has held the higher input cost accountable for the exports decline. Meanwhile, PIAF Chairman Irfan Iqbal sheikh thanked the government for announcing the package of incentives for the industry. However, he said, package would be result oriented when only it will get cheaper energy sources for industry. The traders and industrialists are suffering huge losses mainly on account of rising production cost due to higher power tariff, gas price and unnecessary taxes imposed by federal government and by Punjab government as well, he added.

He said, “Our industry has a potential to double its exports if provided level of playing field.” There is around 20 percent difference in gas and electricity prices between Pakistan and India. “Until and unless the cost of doing business is not reduced, desired results as per incentives given for increasing exports would not be achieved,” he added. He urged the government to lower down the electricity and gas tariff rates at regionally competitive rate.

Pakistan Tanners’ Association Chairman Anjum Zafar highly appreciated the bailout-cum-incentives package announced by the government as a result of various meetings and consultations with association for all core export sector of Pakistan including leather sector, which is also the second biggest export oriented manufacturing sector of the country, contributing 5 percent to the country’s GDP.