Overall textile exports from Pakistan continued to present a dismal picture for another year. The industry has been rendered not viable by the high cost of doing business. As a consequence, textile exports fell further by $600 million, says All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) chairman, Aamir Fayyaz.
Total exports for the country are understood to have fallen by $1.2 billion in the current year. The country’s trade deficit has swelled to an alarming and unmanageable level of $28.3 billion, Fayyaz added. Because of high energy costs, the textile industry continued to face the handicap of being 10 per cent more expensive than its international competitors. He also says that since 2013, the price of energy has been higher than that of competing countries by 4 cents per kilowatt hour.
In the province where 70 per cent of the country’s textile industry is located, the Punjab-based textile industry was exposed to a severe disparity in energy prices. As a result, the bulk of textile manufacturing capacity lies under utilized; over 70 textile mills have shut down in the last six months.
The two basic raw materials for the textile industry—cotton and man-made fibers, to which the textile industry adds value for export—have to be imported, as their domestic availability falls far short of the industry’s requirement.
Fayyaz also said that the Pakistani government’s response, and its subjecting of raw materials to increased import duties and other levies, is regrettable and denies the textile industry raw material availability at competitive and viable prices. The presumptive and innovative tax regime in the country is an additional burden on the organized segment of the textile industry.