Shahbaz stresses need for paying full attention to textile industry
December 10, 2013
LAHORE – Contrary to what the federal finance minister has been saying until recently, Minister of State for Commerce Engr Khurram Dastgir Khan said on Monday that Pakistan had already given India 82 per cent benefits attached to the Most Favorite Nation (MFN) status. According to him, the remaining 18 per cent benefits were not being given to the neighbouring country at present because of what he called political differences.
Addressing an international conference held under the aegis of Ministry of Commerce and Trade and UNESCAP and then talking to journalists at a local hotel, the state minister hoped that the next Indian government would make the situation conducive to get the remaining facilities linked to the MFN.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had said recently that no proposal was under consideration at any level to give India the MFN status.
Khurram Dastagir said that the matter of granting India a passage of trade to Afghanistan via Wahga border was under consideration and yet to be decided. He said that recent exports increase was due to depreciation of Pakistani rupee, adding that the overall situation was not satisfactory.
Talking about the agreement at conference of World Trade Organization held in Indonesia, he said that the agreement was decided while keeping in view the reservations of Pakistan.
“We made it clear that Pakistan will not be partner of any accord that is not in the favor of our farmers,” said Khurram Dastagir Khan, adding that “We shall look at the proper implementation of the signed accord”. He said the accord, that was signed at conference of WTO in Indonesia, would automatically break down if any country including Pakistan met with any loss regarding food and agriculture sectors. He said they had started a new passage of trade with China that would bring economic prosperity in the country.
Meanwhile, in his address, Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said that Pakistan is a big cotton producing country but is lagging far behind in textile sector. He stressed the need for promotion of textile industry for increasing exports and strengthening of national economy. He said that Punjab government is setting up a modern garment economic zone over a large area a few kilometers away from the provincial metropolis which will not only result in development of garment industry but generation of lacs of job opportunities as well.
He said that textile sector will have to be strengthened for increasing national exports and fully benefiting from the status of GSP Plus. He said that the industrialists and traders will have to come forward and play their role for giving a practical shape to the project of garment economic zone.
Chief Minister said that it was an honour for him to address such a large gathering of industrialists and investors. He congratulated Punjab Investment Board and organizers on arranging a splendid conference which, he said, would play an important role in promoting awareness about the importance of textile sector and interaction between stakeholders. He said that Pakistan despite being a big producer of cotton was lagging behind Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries.
Chief Minister said that in order to achieve due status among the textile producing countries, full attention will have to be paid to textile sector which was very important for national economy. He said that there is a need for increasing trade with neighbouring countries.
He lamented that hundreds of trucks keep on weighting for hours for custom clearance at Wagha border which results in wastage of time and setback to trade activities. He said that Trade Ministry should pay attention to this issue. He said that Pakistan has talented and progressive businessmen. He said that former rulers paid no attention to energy sector due to which the industries could not flourish.
He said that present government was taking speedy measures for overcoming energy problem. The Chief Minister said that scope of skill development programme launched in South Punjab with the cooperation of UK Department of International Development was being extended to 18 districts of the province.
He said that thousands of youths are being imparted training under this programme to meet the industrial requirements of the country. He said that services of 61 prominent companies had been acquired for skill development programme. He said that these companies provide skill to the youth and paid by the Punjab government. He said that launching of similar programme with the collaboration of Germany was also being considered. He said that skill development programme is free from corruption and red tapism and its scope will gradually be extended to the whole province. He said that value addition products cannot be promoted without vocational training, therefore, Punjab government is paying special attention to the technical training programme.
Replying to questions of industrialists and investors, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said Punjab government was implementing a solid policy for the development of industrial estates for promoting trade and economic activities. He said the garment zone authority comprises representatives of garment manufacturers and has a nominal representation of government. Shahbaz Sharif further said that authority was looking after promotion of garments industry, energy problem, skill development, allotment of land and other issues.
Replying to another question, the Chief Minister that present government of PML-N has initiated youth business programme under which 50 percent loans will be given to women which will help in their empowerment. Shahbaz Sharif said that he is ready to take measures for the development of textile sector with the consultation of industrialists and investors. He called upon industrialists and investors to submit solid proposals in this regard.
The conference was attended by prominent speakers from in and outside the country including advisor to Chief Minister on Economic Affairs Ejaz Nabi, Federal Secretary Textile Division Rukhsana Shah, President Global Apparel Brand Per Gaseholm, Chairman Gul Ahmad Group Bashir Ali Muhammad, Chairman Cotton Connection Limited Aleema Khan, Chief Executive Officer Matrix Sourcing Azfar Hassan, CEO Synergies Worldwide Khawaja Munir, Director Brandix Lanka limited Aslam Umar and Chief Executive Officer of Bank Alflah Atif Bajwa.
The conference was divided into three parts; general business environment, innovation and manufacturing excellence. Panel discussions and open forums with prominent importers and industry leaders were also arranged.
Punjab Board of Investment and & Trade made a serous effort by organization such a conference of international level which grabbed the attention of international business community, observed the business experts on the occasion. They believed that long term vision was not only to establish an annual platform for the textile and garment industry but to change the conversation on an international level and re-establish Pakistan as valid and viable market leader in the textile and garment industry. Internal Textile Conference (ITC) provided a unique opportunity to investors and suppliers and students to benefit the expertise of the best minds in the industry.
food and agriculture sectors