FAISALABAD -  Stressing a need for further reforms, the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) has lauded the government’s initiatives to increase exports as the country’s exports witnessed 7.89 percent growth in October.

Chairman PTEA Shaiq Jawed said stressed for immediate availability of regionally competitive energy prices, liquidation of pending refunds and immediate issuance of DDT notification to shrink the huge trade deficit and get sustainable growth.

Jawed appreciated the efforts of the government in arresting the continuous downfall in exports; however he stressed for further reforms by removing impediments in export growth. Expressing satisfaction over 7.12 percent growth in textile exports in October and 7.72 per cent in July-October, he said that by addressing remaining challenges, the growth rate could be increased further. High cost of production is the major stumbling block in economic growth as cost of energy inputs in Pakistan has reached to an alarming stage making the country’s products uncompetitive in the international market, he said.

Punjab-based textile industry is on RLNG tariff since 2015 and paying 40% higher tariff than other provinces. Gas tariff is also burdened with various incidentals such as UFG @10%, GIDC @ Rs100/mmbtu and Cost of supply etc, he said. Whereas exporters cannot pass on these system inefficiencies to the international buyers, he noted.

Comparing gas prices with regional peers, he said that gas tariff in Bangladesh is USD 3/mmbtu, in Vietnam USD 4.2/mmbtu, in India USD 4.5/mmbtu; whereas in Pakistan system gas is available at USD 7.6 and RLNG at USD 11 per mmbtu. With such a huge difference in tariff, how the national products would compete with rival countries, he said.

Similarly, electricity tariff for industries is almost 50% higher than the region as several surcharges like Tariff Rationalization Surcharge at Rs. 3.10/kwh and Finance Surcharge at Rs 0.43/kwh have increased the tariff. Giving details, he explained that power tariff in Vietnam is 7 cent/kwh, in India 7 cent/kwh, in China 9 cent/kwh; whereas in Pakistan it cost 11 cent/kwh.

In order to attain competitive edge in international market, he demanded to waive surcharges of Rs3.53/kWh to bring power tariff in line with regional competitors. He further urged to waive the incidentals of UFG at 10%, GIDC at Rs100/mmbtu in gas prices and bring the gas prices equal across the board.

PTEA Vice Chairman Ammar Saeed termed growth-led trade enhancement package as the right initiative for revival of sliding exports. It has not only steamed up the industrial activities but also increased the exports, he said. However, he expressed concerns over unnecessary delay in issuance of notification of amended Duty Drawback of Taxes. He urged for immediate issuance of DDT notification. He termed value-addition as the key to success and urged the government to focus on capturing greater share in regional and international trade through value-addition.

Production of exportable surplus is the need of the hour and also a challenge through revival of idle capacity and materialising of USD 15 billion additional potential by converting fabric into value-added finished products. An enabling environment can attract prospective investors to undertake new investment initiatives by the textile industry, he asserted. Export sector being lifeline of national economy is a very sensitive sector, he said. Disruption in the tempo or bottleneck in export facilitation not only hurts the exports but also devastates the industry causing productivity loss, job losses and industrial unrest, he said.

To keep the industrial wheel running and providing job employment to maximum working hands in the country, it is imperative to facilitate the optimum industrial activity, he said.