Large scale value addition needed for enhancing exports: Dastgir

KARACHI: Federal Minister for Commerce Engineer Khurram Dastagir Khan on Wednesday underlined the need for serious and well-planned efforts for increasing value-addition especially in textile sector for capturing more share in the regional and international markets.

“My desire is , every staple length of our cotton and yarn be transformed into cloth and garments for export. Value addition is needed in entire chain of textile sector,” the Minister said while speaking at a meeting with the members of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association of Pakistan (APTMA) here.

APTMA Chairman Muhammad Yasin Saddik, Vice Chairman Imran Maqbool and other leading textile industrialists and exporters were present.

Federal Commerce Minister said the government led by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif strongly believes that economic revolution in the country can be possible only through public- private partnership and wants to extend all possible support to private sector to achieve this goal.

He regretted lack of joint ventures between the government and private sector especially in research and development activities.

He said the Prime Minister desired that in consultation with the representatives of the private sector revolutionary reforms can be brought about, at least in the 2015 finance bill. In the 2014 finance bill, we are going to restructure SRO regime. The SROs should mean to support the economic growth , he said.

Federal Minister for Commerce said the Prime Minister has given the task to expedite growth of commerce to maximum possible level by using all available means.

He assured the business community that the government has initiated work on the second free trade agreement (FTA-II) with China and said that the FTA-I was signed in haste by the past government.

“We have also initiate dialogue with Japan for FTA and hoped to be signed soon,” he added. He said that in 2016 , the country will witness a big positive change especially in energy sector and will be moving on the track of prosperity.

Under guidance of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif , the government has come up with a comprehensive energy policy which includes shifting of the power plants — existing and new ones- to coal as it is the only answer to the energy crisis.

The work on Diameer and Bhasha dams will start this year. The Prime Minister has already inaugurated K-2 and K-3 nuclear plants at the Karachi coast besides other plants in different areas of the country. One hundred mega watts will come next year from solar sector in public sector. From Nandipur power project will start generating 100 MW in next two weeks. LNG will also start coming into the national system next year, he said adding that all this would help in overcoming the energy crisis in the country. About the Gas Pipeline Project, the Minister informed the business community that the Prime Minister is scheduled to visit Iran in the first week of May 2014.

He assured that he would be pursue till resolution the issues stuck up amounts of exporters in the shape of sales tax refunds and rebates.

To a question, the Commerce Minister said that whenever a scheme of rebates and subsidies was introduced by the government it was marred by massive corruption and misuse, and that ten month old present government has not developed the capacity to deliver the benefits of such schemes to the genuine persons.

Engineer Khurram Dastagir Khan said that soon he would soon visit APTMA once again along with Federal Minister for Textile Industry Abbas Khan Afridi.

Chairman APTMA Muhammad Yasin Siddik pointed out that on account of sales tax refunds and rebates, dollars 7.9 billion amount of exporters is stuck up with Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for last two years. Of this, over 3.2 billion dollars belonged to textile sector only.

He said the high cost doing business and shortage of power and gas and other utilities in the country have rendered the private sector in competitive in the regional and international markets.

He urged the government to pursue with China for providing more level playing field to Pakistani goods especially textile products.