LAHORE - Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) chairman Sajid Saleem Minhas has said that Pakistani garments industry is not fully prepared to take advantage of access to EU market it would be having after having GSP plus status.

Addressing a workshop on ‘Skills Needs Assessment for the Garments Sector’, he appreciated that the Punjab government had realized the importance of having skilled manpower and PSDF is extending a helping hand to the garments industry in this regard. He said that the garments sector is facing 90 per cent shortage of skilled manpower.

The workshop was arranged by Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF) in collaboration with the Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) to identify the areas where trained and skilled manpower is needed to enhance share of Pakistan in the global garments export market.

Speaking on this occasion, PSDF Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ali Sarfraz said that the Punjab government, keeping in view the potential of garments sector for enhancing national exports, has decided to meet the shortage of skilled manpower for this sector. It has constituted a core committee led by special adviser to the Punjab government Dr. Ijaz Nabi and Chairman Planning and Development Board Punjab Irfan Elahi. Various working groups under this core committee are working to assess the requirement for different sectors such as energy, transport, access of local produce to international markets, trade policy and industrial zone developments.

He said in the light of recommendation of these working groups, a policy will be devised and sent for approval to the Chief Minister Punjab for strengthening and improving the garments manufacturing and export sectors.

Ali Sarfraz said that PSDF is having assistance from PRGMEA, Punjab Vocational Training Council, TEVTA and known exporters of garments for this purpose. While Guild UK, Edexcel UK and renowned Turkish institutes will impart the required training and award certificates to those completing these courses.

Talking to journalists, PSDF chief stated that Pakistan was exporting readymade garments of $4 billion per annum. He said that Pakistan is expecting GSP plus status from January 2014 giving it larger access to European markets. However, to encash these opportunities Pakistan would be needing skilled and trained manpower on a very large scale. He said according to a conservative estimate Pakistan’s readymade garments sector needed 30,000 trained manpower every year while this could increase in the years to come.