FAISALABAD - Federal Minister for Textile Abbas Khan Afridi has acknowledged that Government has no choice but to ensure gas supply to textile industry in an effort to help increase its exports and to strengthen its sagging economy.

Addressing the textile millers and exporters at Pakistan Textile Exporters Association here on Tuesday, Minister stressed the need to formulate a comprehensive and long-term policy to fully exploit the potential of all related sectors of ‘white gold’ the country has in huge quantity. He said that textile ministry is making all-out efforts to bring textile sector on track by redressing the problems on priority basis. All stakeholders will be taken on board for truly exploitation of duty free market access to EU.  Government is fully aware of the problems hindering the textile sector and is extending full support and assistance for strengthening of textile sector as its top priority.

We are working on war footing to bridge the huge gap between demand and supply and a comprehensive strategy to overcome energy challenges has been chalked out. With support of the masses we will overcome the challenges being faced by the country, he said and added that all resources would be mobilised for converting Pakistan according to wishes and dreams.

We are serving the masses with a zeal and moral obligation and will continue the same spirit, he added.

He assured that textile ministry will keep its struggles for payment of pending refund claims of textile exporters to ease their financial stress.

Earlier Sohail Pasha, Chairman PTEA welcomed the Federal Minister and thanked him for his continuous support in resolving the problems of the industry. He acknowledged the sincere efforts of the Minister in boosting the country’s textile exports. On behalf of textile chain, he thanked the Premier Mian Nawaz Sharif and Textile Minister Abbas Afridi on ensuring continuous gas supply to export oriented textile sector in Punjab in peak winter season. He briefed about the precarious position of Punjab based textile units and the difficulties and un-competitiveness being faced due to lack of energy.

 He termed the draft of new textile policy as progressive and realistic. He thanked the Minister for addressing the weaknesses of industrial productivity in upcoming textile policy; however he concerned over the delay in the approval of policy. He stressed to ensure the availability of adequate funds for desired results of the upcoming textile policy. He appreciated the move of the textile ministry for revival of sick industrial units and hoped that as a result of these efforts; sick industrial units will soon become active and will play their role in economic development of the country. He termed GSP plus scheme as a milestone achievement of the Government and hoped that duty waiver facility will lead to increase textile exports to EU and will generate significant economic activity in the country.

 However, he apprehended that without addressing the major challenges, opportunity of GSP plus will remain fruitless.