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PRGMEA demands govt assistance to boost exports

Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA)’s Chief Co-Ordinator Ijaz Khokhar has said that a nine percent growth in readymade garments exports achieved by the Pakistan’s export industry is a normal trend. He demanded that there is an acute need of government efforts to boost exports, which are currently ‘invisible’. Despite the country receiving GSP Plus status from the European Union, there has been no tremendous improvement in the export performance of the country.

There is overwhelming reliance on cotton/textile exports in the country's total exports. Cotton manufacturers according to the Economic Survey 2013-14 accounted for 53 per cent of total exports and registered a growth of 6.5 per cent - approximately the same as the year before; the highest growth was in bed wear (20.4 per cent), knitwear (10.7 percent) and readymade garments 7.5 per cent. All other subgroups registered growth with the exception of cotton yarn (negative 8.2 per cent), towels (negative 3.2 per cent) and art, silk and synthetic textiles attributed to unfavourable prices in the international market (due to an ongoing global recession) as well as increased domestic demand. Raw cotton exports registered a whopping 41 per cent increase due mainly to favourable prices overseas.

Identifying the problems faced by the export industry such as poor crops, delays in introduction of quality seeds and regulatory approvals of Bt cotton, widespread energy shortage, numerous local taxes and levies, high cost of finance and restricted trade regimes adopted by importing countries, the federal Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar in his budget speech announced a range of incentives for the sector. Industry body feels that the Finance Minister, however, compromised the growth rate with his focus on reducing the budget deficit.