KARACHI: Pakistani industry must prepare for compliance of 27 conventions signed by the government, in order to reap benefits from the GSP Plus status granted by the European Union (EU) to the country.
This was stated by Punjab governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar who was speaking at the luncheon meeting at All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) here on Saturday.
He said, “the country has obtained this preferential trade status after massive lobbying and efforts from the government level” and added the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had sent him to the European countries for seeking support from the member countries of EU in favour of Pakistan at a juncture when we were facing fierce opposition in the EU.
He said he lobbied among as many as 100 parliament members of the EU to win support in Pakistan favour and even eight delegates from France also voted in favour of Pakistan. It is now up to Pakistan’s industry to get maximum benefit from GSP Plus.
He has intimated the opposing EU members that Pakistan has lost 50,000 lives in the war against terrorism and announced to form Pakistan-EU Business Forum in order to provide help to reap maximum benefit from GSP Plus.
Earlier, APTMA chairman Yasin Siddik said in his welcome address to bring textile exports to $26 billion from $13 billion in next five years after getting GSP Plus.
He said it was the fruit of Punjab governor’s sincere struggles that Pakistan today has achieved the status of GSP Plus.
He said APTMA has undertaken a number of initiatives to keep textile industry at par with global standards and expectations in respect of sustainability, corporate social responsibility, compliance, standards, conservation, best practices, gender balance and the like.
For last six years the textile industry has been stagnant in terms of employment, export, further investment due to infrastructural impairment on account of the war on terror, lost buyers, and lately shortage of energy.
Export of textiles, which had gone up to $14 billion in the year 2010-11 were dropped to $13.1 billion in 2012-13.
APTMA foresees textile export from $13 billion to $26 billion in next few years, an investment of $1 billion annually, creation of one million direct and indirect jobs every year, addition of one percent to two percent to gross domestic product growth and doubling cotton crop from 13 million to 26 million bales.
The GSP Plus status has once again opened the door to Pakistan to balance its trade deficit, if some crucial initiatives like securing raw material and supply un-interrupted energy are taken at the government level, the textile industry can take the country at new heights of prosperity.
APTMA former chairman Gohar Ijaz said present energy shortage poses a serious challenge to the sustainability of industry as well as whittles down its potential to utilise cotton and lend a helping hand to the government in meeting energy shortage.
He said the industry is prepared to set up captive power plants run by fuels other than natural gas like solar energy, liquefied petroleum gas mix, coal and hydel.
Availability of subsidised finance, say at three percent, would help initiate captive power generation on appreciable scale.
APTMA urged the government to make such an option feasible by the provision of low-cost finance. Likewise there is potential for increasing the cotton yield from 13 million bales to 26 million bales by bringing about improvement in seed quality and developing remedy for Cotton Leaf Curl Virus, White Fly and Mealy Bugs.
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