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Pakistan’s textile exports see a great decline of 28 percent in February.

Pakistan’s textile exports plunged a massive 28 percent to stand at $1.2 billion in February this fiscal compared to $1.67 billion in the corresponding month of last fiscal, the leading textile body of the country reported on Monday.

The provisional figures released by the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) showed the dismal picture of the exports of textile goods, the largest contributor in the overall export sector as well as the largest employment-generating sector of the economy.

APTMA said that the country’s textile exports in the first eight months of this financial year decreased by 11 percent to $11.24 billion, declining from $12.60 billion recorded in the corresponding months of the last financial year.

The decline in textile exports comes at a time when the country is already facing depleting foreign exchange reserves, which are just $3.81 billion, hardly sufficient for less than a month of imports.

Last month, APTMA urged the federal government for a level playing field by implementing a uniform gas price of $7 per MMBtu for the export industry across the country. APTMA also warned that the decision of the government to suspend the regionally competitive energy tariff (RCET) of electricity for export-oriented units (EOUs) would hurt the textile industry, particularly in Punjab.

APTMA’s Secretary General Shahid Sattar in a letter to the government said that the textile industry has been asking for an electricity tariff of 9 cents despite the fact that the electricity cost, including transmission and distribution losses stood at 8.1 cents/unit if cross-subsidies were excluded as per CPPA and NEPRA calculations.

The textile body wants the government to persuade the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to continue RCET for the exporters, particularly the textile sector, which was vital to make the products competitive in the international market.

“We have invested $5 billion in the textile sector over the last three years, and the textile sector surged to $19.5 billion in the financial year 2022 from $12.5 billion in FY2020,” Sattar said. If the government succumbs to the IMF pressure, the robust growth of 55 percent in exports in FY22 and investment of $5 billion would go to waste, he pointed out.
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