LAHORE - All Pakistan Textile Mills Association Chairman Dr Amanullah Kassim Machiara has urged the government to remove import duty on cotton since the industry would have to spend $1.5 billion on import of 5.5 million bales due to a 35 percent production shortage this year. Dr Amanullah stated this while addressing a press conference along with Punjab APTMA Chairman Adil Bashir at the APTMA office on Tuesday. He said the quality of locally-produced cotton has also deteriorated as compared to other cotton-producing countries. The imposition of duty with heavy incidental impact for the entire value chain meant to produce goods meant for exports, he stressed. “It is an irony that the government’s crop estimates are always on the higher side, which are seldom proved true. This year again, the initial estimate of 15 million bales was suddenly revised to 10 million bales, which is now apprehended to be around 9.5 million bales, resultantly causing a shortage of 5.5 million bales,” he explained.

The APTMA chief also said the industry would be left with no other option except to procure cotton from the international sources while incurring extra cost in terms of freight charges. According to him, Pakistan is the third largest producer of denim and it is far better in quality than its immediate competitors. While listing down the reasons of low productivity, he said, poor research on seed, adulterated pesticides and encroachment of sugarcane of cotton growing areas are prime reasons for it. He also urged the government to encourage the production of new GMO varieties and APTMA was set to launch research work on cottonseed.