By: Syed Hammad Raza
Textile industry is one of the largest industries of Pakistan. Some careful estimates say that it contributes to 50% of total exports of Pakistan thus being an important contributor to the GDP of Pakistan. But in the last few years this industry has gone down to a deplorable level as is evident from the recent report of State Bank of Pakistan that indicates that a trade deficit of approx. 14 Billion. For an economy like Pakistan this huge trade deficit is a big havoc. There are a number of factors that contribute to this awful situation, important ones being energy shortage (which has undoubtedly broken the backbone of textile industry), high interest rates (that make it difficult to get take big loans), high prices of gas and electricity (that increase the production cost obviously) on the top of all the security challenges and lack of proper policies and Government level. Due to all of these issues Pakistan has lacked behind its regional competitors like Bangladesh, Srilanka, China and India. Explaining this regional differences Executive Director of Gul Ahmad Textile, Ziad Bashir, said that its because “The response time in Pakistan is too slow”. A slight look into statistics show us that the export share of Pakistan in Global Market has fallen down from 2.2% to 1.8% from 2006-2013, while in the same period the share of regional competitors has increased. Bangladesh jumped from 1.9% to 3.3%, China from 27% to 39% and our arch enemy (as we say it) India jumped from 3.1% to 4.7%. If we see globally then we come to know that one of the reason behind the decline of exports in the region and not only Pakistan is the economic slowdown in Europe and US but it has mostly affected Pakistan because of its own domestic problems that have made it very costly (in every sense) to do business in Pakistan. Investors are afraid of investing and buyers are not confident about our credibility yet as explained by Jawed Bilwani, Chairman Pakistan Apparel Forum, “The Government knows everything about the International and domestic challenges of textile industry yet it is not doing anything”. In the light of above discussion it is therefore recommended that Government must pay due attention to textile industry of Pakistan so that we can make produce value added products with sustainable credibility in International Market.