Textile exporters said that massive decline in exports in May, both in the value and quantity, was alarming and the trend likely to continue in the future unless the industrial crisis was addressed.

The exporters had been forewarning the government about the fast looming crisis but no steps have so far been taken to ratify the situation, said Sohail Pasha, the chairman of the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association.

Accompanied by Vice Chairman Rizwan Riaz Saigal, he said that achieving the target to double textile exports appeared to be a herculean task in the perspective of 5.91 percent drop in textile exports in May over the same month of previous fiscal. The situation in the coming months might be worse as the textile industry, particularly in Punjab is in grip of severe crisis, he said.

He elaborated that the country exported textile goods worth USD 1.12 billion in May as against exports of USD 1.19 billion in same month of last year showing a hectic decline of 5.91%. Textile exports were also down by 1.70% on comparison with July-May period of previous fiscal, he added. Export of value added items witnessed negative growth as cotton cloth down by 15.70%, knitwear 11.32%, bed wear 9.80% and towels 9.23%. Slow poisoning of national economy is being precipitated due to the non-serious attitude of the government, as exports of the country are heading towards collapse after visible decline, he said.

Mentioning the energy crisis, he said summers have been reached at the peak, but still 33% gas is available to industries in Punjab. Similarly, the menace of power load shedding is plaguing the industrial sectors. Textile exporters were pinpointing the root causes of industrial decline with repeated requests for necessary remedial steps, but Government remained mum and no proper strategy was carved out to save textile sector from crisis, he said. The PTEA chairman was of the view that textile exporters are working under extreme pressure. “We have been forewarning the government about the fast looming crisis, but the government failed to understand the gravity of the situation and no steps have so far been taken to ratify the situation. Regional rivals India, China and Bangladesh are creeping into our traditional markets throwing Pakistani textiles out. Growing energy shortage had affected almost one-third of the country’s textile manufacturing capacity and adversely hitting its reputation as a credible supply source.

“Due to energy shortfall, major chunk of finance is diverted to develop energy infrastructure that has squeezed financial streams breading cash flow jerks. Moreover, extreme cash flow crunch is shedding negative impacts on entire textile chain as around 30 percent working capital of textile exporters is already stuck-up in refund regime creating severe liquidity crunch and no steps are taken by the Government for immediate payment of refund claims. Despite subsidizing the alternate fuels, Government increased import duty on coal rendering textile exporters unviable,” he said.

He urged the government to take cognizance of serious matter and step up to save precious forex earning sector from disaster as challenges like energy crisis, cash flow crunch, high cost of production and financial stress is holding this mainstay of national economy back from growing up to full potential.