Federal Commerce Minister Pledges Support For Textile Industry’s Export Diversification Efforts

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LAHORE: Federal Commerce Minister Jam Kamal Khan has pledged government support to facilitate the textile industry’s export diversification, emphasising ongoing measures to bolster export-oriented sectors in Pakistan.

During a visit to the APTMA Lahore office on Tuesday, Khan addressed textile industrialists, reaffirming the government’s commitment to implementing institutional and structural reforms. He outlined plans to resolve energy and tariff issues, enhance regional connectivity, and diversify exports to ensure sustainable economic growth and stability.

Welcoming the minister, APTMA’s Patron-in-Chief Dr. Gohar Ejaz, Chairman APTMA North Kamran Arshad, Senior Vice Chairman Asad Shafi, former Chairman of the Association, Secretary General Mohammad Raza Baqir, and other leading textile millers, expressed their optimism for future collaboration.

Minister Khan praised APTMA’s proposal for modern industrial zones with plug-and-play facilities, noting their potential to attract Chinese investment. He highlighted the importance of creating a conducive environment for industry growth and investment.

Dr. Gohar Ejaz underscored the necessity of reducing interest rates and electricity tariffs to maintain a competitive landscape for the textile industry. He detailed APTMA’s vision for state-of-the-art industrial zones dedicated to garment manufacturing, which would feature advanced infrastructure, security, amenities, and housing, with minimal additional energy demands.

Ejaz noted that the Punjab government has conceptually approved this project and formed a committee headed by the Provincial Minister for Industries, with APTMA actively liaising with this committee.

Chairman APTMA North Kamran Arshad provided a comprehensive overview of the textile industry’s current state. He urged the minister to align power tariffs for industrial consumers with regional standards at 9 cents/kWh by eliminating cross-subsidies and stranded costs. Additionally, he advocated for the approval of B2B power contracts with a Use of System/Wheeling Charge of 1-1.5 cents/kWh, excluding cross-subsidies and stranded costs, and proposed increasing the cap on solar net-metering for industrial consumers from 1MW to 5MW.

Arshad also called for the restoration of zero-rating for the textile sector, highlighting that over two-thirds of textile production is exported. He explained that the current sales tax collection system, which imposes taxes at multiple stages of production, creates significant financial strain and encourages fraudulent refund claims. He proposed collecting sales tax only at the final stage of local supply for end products like garments and towels.

Additionally, Arshad emphasised the need for prompt tax refund payments and extended financial liquidity to the industry. He suggested measures to promote the export of MMF products, which would diversify Pakistan’s product range and increase its share in the global MMF market.

Senior Vice Chairman Asad Shafi extended a vote of thanks to the federal minister and presented him with a memento to commemorate the visit.

 

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