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Strategy to double exports on the anvil: Aptma Punjab Chairman

Strategy to double exports on the anvil: Aptma Punjab Chairman

LAHORE: All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) is chalking out a long term strategy to double its exports from the current $13.5 billon to $26 billion in the next five years.

He pointed out that Indian yarn exporters had the edge over their Pakistani counterparts as they could export yarn to Pakistan on zero customs duty “while we have to pay 29 percent duty. It is impossible for Pakistani industry to vie with India.

Aptma Punjab Chairman SM Tanveer divulged these facts during an exclusive interview with Customs Today.

SM Tanveer said that Pakistani cotton production was pale in comparison with that of India as in 2004 Pakistan would produce 12 million cotton bales while India also produced the same quantity, adding that now the scenario had changed altogether as India was now producing 38 million bales of cotton, leaving Pakistan far behind in this regard.

“We have so many useful plans which we are going to share with Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif with the hope to get them implemented,” the Aptma Punjab chairman revealed.

To a question about prevailing energy crisis, he said that he was optimistic that Pakistan would be able to execute export orders attracted after attaining GSP Plus status.

He declared that the government had been utilising all-out resources to enhance electricity production and eliminate power outages on top priority basis.

“Nandipur power project will add more than 200 megawatts of electricity to the national grid in couple of months. Similarly the government is working on such other projects to cope with the shortage of the electricity,” SM Tanveer explained.

“In the same way, gas shortage is being tackled by importing LNG from Qatar and other countries. The government seems committed to make this happen by October this year,” he elaborated.

To another question about Indo-Pakistan cotton competition in the international market, he said that the Aptma had urged the government time and again to provide a level playing field to the sector, adding that only government incentives would enable the industry to vie with India as the Indian government had offered hefty subsidies to its industry.

“India has been developing 53 textile integrated parks and the government has invested Rs410 billion in the project. Indian millers are using indigenous machinery which is available to them on nominal cost,” he explained.

The Aptma Punjab chief said that the Indian government had added 55,000 megawatts of electricity to the national grid to ensure uninterrupted power supply to industry, adding that Indian government was offering rebates to its millers on exports. Besides, Indian yarn exporters had an edge over Pakistani exports as they could export yarn to Pakistan on zero customs duty. “It is impossible for Pakistani industry to outperform India,” he declared.

Talking about Federal Board of Revenue and Customs, SM Tanveer said that if Pakistan and India kick start bilateral trade, Pakistani Customs would have to be extraordinary efficient.

“As far as the sales tax is concerned, the Aptma wants a consistent policy. FBR has shifted from zero percent regime to 2 percent, 5 percent, 10 percent and 15 percent. For last two years, FBR has not paid refunds on 2 percent sales tax. FBR owes billion of rupees in refunds to the industrialists at a time when we are seeking level playing field to jack up exports,” he concluded.