Pakistan trying to reinvent its textile and apparel industry

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2014-02-08 12:30:00 – Islamabad

As textile being highly labour intensive industry, developed nation have already lost their cost competitiveness and big firms in developed countries are trying to re-locate their activities in low cost countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam and India. In Pakistan Textile industry possess its unique position as a self-reliant industry, from the production of raw materials to fabric and fashion and plays a major role contributing to the national economy.

Pakistan is the 4th largest producer of cotton next to China, India and America and employing 45% of national workforce in textile and allied industries our value creation in this sector is limited as compared to the global textile and apparel market of US $1.9 Trillion.

The global net cotton production has come down substantially in the recent past in China & US. On the other hand, besides US and other developed nations, cotton textile demands are on rampant increase from BRIC and rising Asian economies.

This economic growth has re-shifted global balance of economic power and with rising income in Asian countries the consumption for textile and apparel market has also seen substantial demand. This increasing demand has created the need for increasing textile and apparel value addition along with increasing spinning and weaving capacity to counter both domestic and global yarn and fabric shortage.

We have seen extensive policy works on paper from government and other concerned bodies, however practically results and growth in this primary industrial sector of our economy remains almost stagnant. Being the 4th largest producer of cotton and a major leather producing nation our exports for this sector still hover around US $14Billion less than non-cotton producing country of Bangladesh and far less then largest global textile product exporter china. Punjab and Sindh is national hub of cotton and textile industry, however it is observed that at times Pakistan depends heavily on imported cotton and also value creation in our industry is way far less than our regional neighbours ie Bangladesh, china, and India. Therefore, there is a need to transform the national cotton and textile industry as the leader in manufacturing of yarn, fabric, clothing and garment, apparel products and fashion industry with a policy focus to work on 4 different segments of the value chain.

-- Modernising our Farming

-- Adding value to Fiber produced

-- Strengthening our Fabric, Garment and Fashion Industry

-- Having Export Intensive and Pro-export Policies to generate foreign exchange.

Exports are primary tool which run engine of any economy. For a country like Pakistan which is already debt ridden under global donors, to seek self-reliance and self-sustainability, focus and primary focus on export markets must be achieved. Over the years we have been listening our leaders talking about trade not aid, but they must realise that trade comes with efforts not with words. Our national think tanks must understand that being an agrarian economy and having already developed textile and apparel industry to get back our economic revival we need to focus more intensively on our Cotton industry and need to do more efforts to create value from the root of the chain (ie creating value for Farmer) which shall lead spillover effects and generate economies of scale for the complete chain be it ginner, spinner, weaver, garment manufacturer, fashion designer, exporter or retailer.

It is requested and recommended to government of Pakistan that to create value in exports and generate national export base some initiatives like ie Entrepreneurship Development Centre should be taken at provincial and national level. Although Prime Minister youth program is very well designed and in same government can develop programs where incentives on export of any valued product must be preferred and privileged. Along that as our parliament has already passed law of Special economic zones, government with its support on joint national and provincial level can motivate district level governments with awards of "City of Export Excellence" and similar award can be honoured to Faisalabad as "TOWN OF EXPORT EXCELLENCE IN GARMENTS" or to Lahore as "TOWN OF EXPORT EXCELLENCE IN SPINNING" or to Sanghar as " TOWN OF EXPORT EXCELLENCE IN GINNING" to motivate more entrepreneurship and development of export industries related to this available crop and resources. Beside all above they can also focus on "MULTAN-SADIQABAD CORRIDOR" and "THAR-THATTA CORRIDOR" for export excellence and development of export oriented industries with available cheaper raw material and best source of self-power generation in same corridors. With special efforts by the office of PM, a much needed foreign direct investment can be brought into these areas to develop and strengthen economic front of nation.

Besides, this approach shall improve the growth of cotton Farmer by way of better price realisation & also enable them to withstand the ambiguous & price fluctuation of cotton both in domestic and international market in one hand and to strengthen the whole value chain of the textile and apparel industry across the nation. Similarly, in the synthetic and non-cotton textile front, Punjab and KPK, in specific MARDAN - RAWALPINDI and SARGODHA-LAHORE Corridor, can be developed to create largest producers of man-made and filament fabric manufacturers in the country, capturing the need of domestic and international market. However, a significant need is felt to make this sector internationally competitive by way of value addition and technology up gradation at all level ie from yarn to fabric and garment.

With a vision of Enhancing the sustainable growth of Farmers by way of Value Addition and to strengthen the value chain for the overall growth of Cotton Textile and apparel industries in one hand and Man-made Filament Textile Industry on the other, government of Pakistan is requested to provide necessary support for entire value chain, from Farming, Ginning, Spinning,Weaving, Dyeing & Processing, Knitting, Apparel, Garmenting and TechnicalTextiles either for new investment and expansion or for technology up gradation to become internationally competitive and generate much needed foreign exchange to create a self-reliant and self-sustainable Pakistan.

The new textile and trade policy which under discussion is highly required with the objective of continuing the leadership in the textile industry

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