FAISALABAD

The Pakistan Textile Exporters Association said that despite the grant of GSP Plus by the European Union, the textile exports, showing declining trend, dropped by 6.38pc in December as compared to the same month of the previous year.

PTEA group leader Ahmad Kamal was of the view that the country had failed to take full advantage of the trade concessions given by the European Union under GSP Plus scheme on account of lack of government support.

The previous textile policy, ended on June 30, 2014, failed to meet the envisaged textile exports target of USD 25 billion, which is currently no more than USD 13.5 billion, he said. he added that main reasons behind the failure of the policy was non-implementation of different initiatives due to short releases of funds.

The government discharged only Rs26.75 billion against the commitment of Rs188 billion. Around Rs22 of textile exporters are still outstanding in various incentive schemes under previous textile policy.

He said textile policy also guaranteed regular supply of gas and power to the textile industry. However, it has failed to provide this as a large number of textile units have shut their operations due to energy constraints, resulting in huge loss to the industry.

The textile exporters have voiced grave concern over inordinate delay in approval of new textile policy which carries the measures to increase the country’s textile exports to USD 26 billion by the year 2019.

Undue delay in the approval of new textile policy is depriving the textile sector of its due benefits, besides causing serious apprehensions and uncertainty in the sector, said the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association office-bearers.

Expressing concern over the delay, Chairman Sohail Pasha and Vice Chairman Rizwan Riaz on Wednesday revealed that the government had announced several schemes like complete settlement of all outstanding refund claims, rationalisation of refund regime, drawback of local taxes on 10% increase in annual exports, establishment of Exim Bank, duty free import of textile machinery and reduction of mark-up rate for export refinance in the budget 2014-15 as integral part of the new textile policy. However, they regretted, in the absence of any textile policy, the sector is not taking benefits from these schemes.

They said that funds of Rs80 billion were earmarked in the federal budget for textile package; however, after a lapse of seven months, these schemes could not be implemented. Textile sector contributes about 55 percent to the country's total exports, besides providing direct and indirect millions of jobs; however, textile sector is being run without a textile policy for six months. They said that textile policy is being awaited because different incentives could help exporters, as only announcement of the package would not serve the purpose.

Rizwan Riaz Saigal said that the government had failed to encourage investment in the textile sector during last five years whereas competitors made huge investments due to the positive and business friendly environment. Less increase in exports than non GSP Plus India is not a good omen, as India’s extraordinary surge in exports reveals the support of their Government.

They demanded that Government should concentrate upon some truly visionary steps and address genuine concerns of the industry with innovation and extraordinary solutions in the upcoming textile policy. They further demanded immediate approval and implementation of textile policy for next five years.