ISLAMABAD     -      The textile sector is facing a grave threat due to reduction in cotton production which should be noticed by the government, a business leader said Friday. The government should allow duty-free import of at least five million bales of cotton to keep price normal otherwise high cost of doing business will hurt the largest export earning sector, said Shahid Rasheed Butt, former president ICCI. He said that the cotton crop is to see a reduction of 33 percent or almost five million bales which will hurt growers and textile millers. The import to bridge shortfall would require 1.5 billion dollars while taxes will add to the cost, therefore, it should be waived, he said. Shahid Rasheed Butt said that steps should be taken to bail out growers who have seen part of their crops destroyed to pests and other factors. He noted that the future of the textile sector is on stake but some bureaucrats are claiming that cotton output would increase by three million bales which is totally baseless. Similarly, authorities have projected improvement on large scale manufacturing while the situation on the ground is altogether different as textile, food production, beverages, tobacco, petroleum, chemical and pharmaceutical sectors are facing serious problems. He said that SMEs have also started to scale down production and lay off staff which should be taken seriously by the authorities.