ISLAMABAD

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar here on Saturday said that government wanted to strengthen the role of textile sector as the leading foreign exchange earner for the country for which joint efforts by the government and the industry itself were required.

He made these remarks during an interactive session with representatives of the textile industry, considering their proposals for the budget 2015-16. Chairman FBR, Tariq Bajwa and Advisor Finance Division, Rana Assad Amin were also present.

The minister was apprised about the issues and difficulties faced by the textile industry of which energy, the senior reps observed, was the major problem. They opined that the textile sector faced stiff competition and challenges from textile industries of other countries in the region which affected textile exports from Pakistan. If only, they could be sure of regular supply of gas which was an economical source of energy for the textile sector, they would be in a position to streamline production process and try to match the quality products from other countries.

The minister agreed that energy problem was affecting the whole economy including the textile sector but serious efforts were being made to resolve the issue.

 He said promotion of textile industry was the key to overall industrial and economic development in the country. He added that the textile sector would be facilitated in the next budget as much as possible but the fact remained that all sectors had an obligation to pay taxes to strengthen the economy.

Those who attended the meeting included M. Zubair Motiwala, Council of Pakistan Textile Association, Jawed Bilwani, Pakistan Apparel Forum, Saleem Pakekh, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers & Exporters Association, Ijaz A. Khokhar, Pakistan Readymade Garment Manufacturers & Exporter Association, Khwaja Mohammad Usman, Pakistan Cotton Fashion Apparels Manufacturers & Exporters Association, Rafiq Habib Godil, Pakistan Knitwear and Sweater Exporters Association, Syed Aasim Shah, All Pakistan Bed Sheets & Upholstery Manufactures Association, Khalid Kandil, All Pakistan Cotton Power Looms Assn, Khalid Habib Sheikh, All Pakistan Textile Processing Mills Association, Saikh Ayub, APTPMA, Pervaiz, APTPMA Lahore and Amjad Khan, APTPMA.

Meanwhile, finance minister also met senior officials of the Ministry of IT and FBR to discuss Ministry of IT’s proposals for budget 2015-16.

Secretary IT, Azmat Ali Ranjha briefed the Finance Minister about the current profile of the IT sector in Pakistan. He said there was vast scope of expansion in the cell phone service, as 120 million people in the country still didn’t have access to mobile phones. He said that encouragement by the government would help further promote the cell phone usage in the country. He also on the occasion told the Minister that concerted efforts had been made to check grey traffic which had a healthy impact for growth of regular phone service. The Minister said IT sector had attracted healthy investment in the past and undoubtedly had further scope of expansion.  He appreciated budget proposals of the IT Ministry and said these would be reflected in the forthcoming budget. Chairman FBR, Advisor Finance Division, Rana Assad Amin and other senior officials of the FBR and Ministry of IT attended the meeting.