LAHORE - The funds of cotton cess are largely being misused by Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC), as there is no Audit Sub-Committee and no internal audit function in place.

Industry sources said that textile industry has contributed to cotton cess of over Rs3 billion collected during last 17 years, of which, more than 90% is being wasted on salaries of bureaucracy against merely 10% on operational expenses, the sole objective of the Committee.

While dubbing it unfair on the part of the PCCC, industry sources said the PCCC has proposed 72% increase in establishment expenses from Rs110 million to Rs189 million in the budget estimates for fiscal year 2013-14. However, the Federal Cabinet had decided that the PCCC budget would be spent at the ratio of 40:60 for establishment and research activities respectively. Perturbed over the stagnant crop size of cotton, which is clear barometer of the effectiveness of the PCCC, industry sources said that no improvement in per acre yield had voluntarily been offered to pay Cotton Cess for the last several years.

They added that per acre yield and cotton crop remains dismal and the crop size is stagnant at 12 to 13 million bales for the last few years, showing no improvement in per acre yield with only a little over 600 kg per hectare as against Australia’s 1,800 and China’s 1339 kg per hectare.

“In the year 2000-01 crop size of India was 14 million bales of 170 kg whereas it was 10.68 million bales in case of Pakistan. Similarly increase in yield per hectare for the same period in case of Pakistan was only 23% primarily because of use on unauthorized BT seed whereas for India it was 75%,” they added.

Moreover, they said that Pakistan Institute of Cotton Research & Technology (PICR&T) carries out external testing of fiber. As this institute is not operative therefore, its equipments worth million of rupees are damaged and have been placed in junkyard and its dozens of employees are carrying out minimal work, they added.

Further, PCCCC does not have a separate biotech lab for conducting present day cotton research. In addition various research functions are not properly established, including virology, chemical studies and farm management.

Central Chairman Yasin Siddik said that APTMA had proposed a Centre of Excellence at the CCRI Multan through restructuring of PCCC by activating it to pursue a dynamic cotton research and development programme to boost cotton production and its quality in the country.

Accordingly, the association had also agreed to increase Cotton Cess from Rs20 per bale to Rs50 per bale subject to the condition that the PCCC will be managed professionally to undertake state-of-the-art cotton research centre. Punjab chairman SM Tanvir observed that APTMA had engaged M/s A. F. Ferguson & Co., Chartered Accountants to prepare a plan to restructure PCCC on modern lines by the constituted by ECC to study the models of cotton research in USA, China and India. He said objective of restructuring of PCCC was to increase cotton lint yield to 1000kg/hectare, achieve 25 million cotton bales by 2020, sustainable cotton research through public-private partnership and synergy with international research institutes for technology collaborations.

He drawn attention towards misuse of Cotton Cess by the Pakistan Central Cotton Committee and urged the government to save it in the larger interest of cotton economy of Pakistan.

He asked the government to install APTMA nominee as Vice President of PCCC be installed, besides demanding an immediate third party audit of the PCCC funds and inquiry of its misappropriation.