PAKISTAN: Textile groups call for government support
By Ahmed Abdullah | 6 March 2012
Textile bodies in Pakistan are calling for a government "relief package" to help revive the country's textile industry, which has been hit by energy shortages.
Gohar Ejaz, former chairman of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), said the package should include an uninterrupted supply of gas and restructure the industry's outstanding bank loans.
He added that the energy shortages have pushed the industry's bad loans to 32%, since borrowers are unable to make repayments. This could rise to 50% by the end of March if the industry's gas supplies are not improved.
APTMA's Punjab region chairman, Ahsan Bashir, claims US$4bn in exports have been lost in the last seven months - which will result in job losses.
And Rana Muhammad Mushtaq Khan, chairman of the Value Added Textile Forum (VATF), wants the government to exempt the export-oriented textile industry from social security contributions, which it is struggling to pay in the face of higher energy costs and frequent power cuts
Pakistan's textile and clothing exports fell by 17% in January 2012. The figure contrasts with a 35% rise in the fiscal year to June 2011, which reached a record level of US$13.8bn.