Faisalabad -  Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) has stressed for immediate announcement of textile package promised by the prime minister to arrest the widening trade deficit as substantial capacity to produce exportable surplus is either fully or partially closed due to high energy cost and other factors concerning cost of doing business.

Commenting on recent export figures in a statement here on Tuesday, Pakistan Textile Exporters Association Chairman Ajmal Farooq and Vice Chairman Muhammad Naeem expressed concerns over widening trade deficit and shrinking exports. Quoting the figures, they said that the country's exports plunged by 3.93 percent to $8.18 billion during July-November period of this year, which was $334.68 million less than the comparative period of last year. Compared to this, the import bill increased 8.7 percent to almost $20 billion in the same period. In absolute terms, the import bill was $1.6 billion more than in the previous year.

They termed high cost of production and un-competitiveness as the major hurdles in export growth, adding that if the reasons behind the industrial crisis are not addressed, situation may be alarming further in coming months; whereas drop in exports would have dire impact on economy which is already under pressure.

Hey said textile industry is facing a serious blow of non-viability, adding that in order to rescue the ailing textile industry, the prime minister promised a relief package as textile industry had been lagged behind in the region but after laps of months textile industry is still waiting for the relief. Non serious attitude of the policy makers towards the issues of major export industry is badly hitting the economy, they said.

The PTEA chairman was of the view that textile industry is facing a crisis-like situation because the cost of doing business is much higher than regional competitors. Over 30 percent manufacturing capacity has become idle and productivity has been reduced on account of un-competitiveness.

“We are losing out share in global trade; whereas competing countries like Bangladesh, India, China and Vietnam are rapidly multiplying their exports just because of the edge they have on the cost of doing business and other incentives offered by their governments,” he added.

Pragmatic policies in consultation with stakeholders need to be formulated to reduce the cost of business by fixing rates of inputs in line with competing countries in the global market to create a level playing field, he suggested.

The PTEA chairman urged the government to announce much awaited textile package without further delay in order to avert shortfall in exports, achieve sizeable growth, utilise idle capacity, create jobs and attract investments in the country. This would lead to resurgence of the presently impaired textile industry and reaping the socio-economic benefits for the country through a strong textile industry, he added.