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Textile industry woes


In a meeting of the senate standing committee on textiles, the State Bank of Pakistan governor has sought proposals from the stakeholders to resolve their problems and boost the textile sector. Ashraf Mahmood Wathra not only asked the banking sector to extend soft loans to the textile industry, but also requested the members of the business community to bring their money back to the country to strengthen the textile industry. It is unfortunate part of the national economy that the textile sector has not fully used its potentials and is leaving a vacuum in the international market only to be filled by regional competitors. The textile sector needs tax concessions, uninterrupted electricity supply and the government support to find new markets in foreign countries. Bangladesh has achieved new laurels in garment export in recent years and Pakistan as the leading textile exporters has gone far behind it. The policymakers will have to study the causes of declining the exports. The sector needs not only subsidies for exporters, but also financial support and it will only happen when the government will come up with a fresh textile policy.

The textile sector expects the government to provide uninterrupted electricity and gas supplyto the country as well as rebates and concessions. The proposed textile city in Karachi has already been discarded and the sector is also blamed for tax evasion. Until a conducive environment is created for the business community, especially for the stakeholders in the textile industry, the low performance will continue to haunt the national economy. The government policymakers should study Bangladeshi model that how it has become the second largest garment exporters of the world in few years. It is the time the government should help the local investors in setting up business-to-business contacts with their foreign counterparts and concessions should be extended to attract foreign investment in this sector. It is a good omen that the State Bank of Pakistan is encouraging private banks to provide soft loans to the textile industry but this is not enough. The government as well as the stakeholders in the textile sector will have to fulfill their parts of responsibilities for the cause of the national economy.

According to reports, the textile sector is the worst taxpayer and it needs to be taken seriously. Rights are always attached with duties and responsibilities. Payment of due taxes is the responsibility and tax evasion not only brings troubles for the industry, but also for the economy. On its part, the government should also pay refund claims to the exporters in time as unnecessary delays only add to the woes of the textile industry.

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