According to newspaper reports, textile exports are expected to touch $13 billion mark during the current fiscal year. The volume of the exports of value-added textile goods has already jumped to 7.66 percent during the first five months of the current fiscal year. Ironically, exports of textile goods steadily declined year on year since 2013 when it reached $13.73 billion in the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who had raised the slogan of business, business and business after assuming the office. The rally drastically faltered in the ensuing years when exports even dropped to $13.47 billion in 2014-15 and $12.44 billion in 2015-16. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif announced Rs 180-billion bailout package in January last year to boost exports, including textile and apparel sectors. The package also allowed tax-free cotton import and duty drawback on exports of fabrics, made-ups and garments once the import proceeds realised. But the package could not improve the situation and the government announced its revision in October. The stakeholders also complained against delayed implementation of the package as non-payment of refunds and a sharp rise in cotton yarn prices had adversely affected the exports of value-added goods.
The Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association demanded the government introduce a five-year cotton policy to raise the production up to 22 million bale a year. The association also demanded increase the cotton growing area to 4.2 million hectares from the current 3.2 million hectares. On another note, the Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association demanded withdrawal of duty on the import of cotton yarn which is used for the value-added knitwear sector. It is mainly imported from India. The rise in the prices of cotton yarn affected the export of value-added garment sector and the overall exports sector was showing bleak performance during the last two years. However, the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association is now satisfied with upsurge in textile shipments and is giving the former prime minister of its credit. However, if some government claims are fake, the challenges to the textile sector are real and the government will have to ramp up its support for the stakeholders to spur growth. The rising cost of doing business is the big hurdle in the way of industrial growth as it makes the Pakistani products uncompetitive in the international market. All the sentiments are in the country’s favour and the government and the business community has to work in tendon to achieve the desired goals.