Exports can get a significant boost if cotton-based textiles receive an uplift and that is only possible if cotton crop output target is successfully achieved as both these are deeply inter connected.
Those who believe that this is possible through imported cotton are only fooling themselves. It is possible in medium- to long-term but not in the short-term without enhancing productivity in the textile sector. This requires, inter alia, better education and improved skills of the labour force. A visible improvement in these factors would require time which we, unfortunately, do not have.
A reduction in crop acreage in Punjab is not good news nor is the taxing of services obtained or rendered by textile chain.
Therefore, expectations of a zero-rated sales tax regime throughout the chain on services rendered to and obtained by value-added textile units are quite high in relation to the Punjab Budget. But they need worry about domestic cotton output and remove all kinds of obstacles towards the cotton-based textile industry to help meet its goals.
Uninterrupted electric and gas supplies are required to be ensured as this sector happens to be the largest employer. After all, more than half of their dollar exports are earned by this sector alone.
Pakistan has a competitive advantage in cotton and it needs to exploit it to the hilt. This means giving top priority by offering incentives to this sector to achieve their goals of economic prosperity.
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