ECC urged to approve new textile policy

By: News Desk      Published: 10:54 PM, 14 Mar, 2021
ECC urged to approve new textile policy
Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PRGMEA) Vice Chairman Adeeb Iqbal Sheikh says Prime Minister Imran Khan has already approved the five-year textile policy for submission to the ECC.–File photo

The garments industry on Sunday called for approval of new textile policy 2020-25 by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet as it is vital for new investment and marketing plan in this major export-oriented sector. 

Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PRGMEA) Vice Chairman Adeeb Iqbal Sheikh said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has already approved the five-year textile policy for submission to the ECC. However, the ministry was unable to oblige due to undisclosed reasons.

He said the government announced several schemes including settlement of outstanding refund claims, rationalization of refund regime, establishment of Exim bank, duty-free import of textile machinery and reduction of mark-up rate for export refinance in past but the sector was not getting benefits yet.

The textile sector makes for about 60 percent of the country's total exports, besides providing millions of direct and indirect jobs and this required a proper policy, he added. He urged the government to redress the problems of the industry through comprehensive and innovative solutions in the new textile policy. He said that a clear long-term policy will provide investors a clear vision that the government of Pakistan is ready to support the apparel sector of Pakistan on a long-term basis.

He said the garments industry has been affected seriously by the delay in announcement of the new textile policy by the Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet, as the PM has already given approval in this regard. He was of the view that further delay in the textile policy would result in delay or even backing out of investors from future local and foreign investment in the industry. “Presently, we are in short production capacity and several exporters are refusing export orders because there is not enough capacity available in the country,” he said. 

He claimed that targets set were ambitious and financial commitments of Rs188 billion and Rs65 billion respectively for the first 2009-14 and second 2014-19 Textile Policies were made by the past governments to achieve the targets. However, commitments were not fulfilled and timely payments were not doled out in financial support schemes. Further, funds were not allocated for public sector development under infrastructure, vocational training, productivity and compliance related programmes.

He urged the government to redress the problems of the industry through innovative solutions in the new textile policy. He maintained that timely implementation of a long-term policy would not only bring new investments in the country but also enable the industry to achieve the target of $30 billion exports in the next five years.