KARACHI: Pakistan will launch a long-awaited new textile policy this month to increase fabric and apparel exports from $12.86 billion to $20.86 billion in five years, the commerce minister has said.
The country’s previous five-year textile policies — for 2009-14 and 2014-19 — aimed at increasing fabric and apparel exports to $25 billion and $26 billion respectively, but the targets were never achieved.
The 2020-25 policy was approved by Prime Minister Imran Khan in March this year, but still awaits official announcement.
The policy, according to a draft seen by Arab News, aims to attract domestic and foreign investment into textile and apparel supply chains and develop value-added sectors.
“The policy will be implemented this month,” Abdul Razak Dawood, the prime minister’s adviser for commerce and textile, told Arab News in an interview this week.
The textile minister said his government had already factored in the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in the new policy and was open to taking additional measures after the latest COVID surge and the possibility of a vaccine in the coming months.
“We had envisaged a higher target but the new wave of COVID has arrived and I am worried that things may change but let’s see what this COVID spike is doing”, Dawood said. “There are talks of vaccine coming in and if the vaccine comes in then the situation will change.”
#LISTEN: “We had envisaged a higher [textile export] target but the new wave of #COVID19 has arrived and I am worried that things may change,” said prime minister’s adviser for commerce and textile @razak_dawood
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— Arab News Pakistan (@arabnewspk) November 13, 2020
Despite being the world’s fourth largest producer and third largest consumer of cotton, Pakistan’s comparative advantage is diminished by low value-added textile products.
This year’s textile export target has been set at $12.86 billion, with $9.4 billion from value added and $3.3 billion from raw or semi-finished textile products, according to the draft of the 2020-25 policy. In 2025, the government plans to reach $20.86 billion — $16.29 billion from value-added goods.
Textile exporters say they are anxiously waiting for the new policy to be announced to plan their future actions.
“Textile sector is anxiously waiting for the policy. It is already long delayed,” Ijaz Khokhar, chief coordinator of the Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA), told Arab News.
“People are in a kind of panic in the current situation of pandemic ... The policy is urgently needed for future planning,” he said.
Pakistan’s textile sector contributes nearly one-fourth of its industrial value-added products, provides employment to about 40 percent of industrial labor, consumes 40 percent of banking credit to the manufacturing sector and accounts for 8.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Ministerial and All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) data show that textile products maintain an average share of about 54 percent of the country’s overall exports.
In the previous fiscal year, Pakistan’s textile exports reached $12.5 billion.