The Prime Minister and Finance Minister have no time to meet the Textile Exporters. All scheduled meetings with Prime Minister during last consecutive six months have been postponed. The Value-Added Textile Exporters are highly perturbed over step-motherly and harsh behaviour of the Government that has completely ignored the textile exporters who are battling hard, in these most difficult economic times of the history in Pakistan, to earn direly needed precious foreign exchange for the Pakistan. Instead of calling on genuine and real stakeholders, the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and their Economic Team are calling their favourite businesspersons for consultation on Budget 2023-24. These few businessmen who are big industrialist regularly meet the Government who advise and suggest about promotion and business development of SMEs. Surprisingly, the national export is not increasing, its revenue is not increasing but debts and liabilities are increasing, nonetheless, the businesses and exports of those few blue-eyed businessmen have greatly flourished, however, the SMEs are struggling for their survival having no representation and no say to the Government. This broad discrimination and bigotry has shaken the confidence of small and medium textile exporters. During the period, 918 business entities engaged in export have closed and shutdown their export activities.
The Value-Added Textile Industry and its export has been facing challenges and downturn in progress with decline in export due to unwise policies and imprudent moves by the Government which has pushed the textile export industry towards deep unviable situation heading towards verge of closure causing massive layoffs with sharp decline in export and foreign exchange earnings. The State Bank of Pakistan has also made harsh regulations on the dictates of Government to squeeze export and exporters by penalizing by reducing export realization time limit from previous 180 days to revised 120 days. While the importers are given complete liberty to import on deferred payment of 365 days. It is an incorrect perception that exporters deliberately stop or delay their remittance abroad. There are few exporters who have their offices abroad may be involved in such inappropriate delays while the great majority of exporters timely bring their remittance to Pakistan. Why the Government is penalizing the majority of exporters for the unethical activity of few persons? Should not those unethical exports be penalized only? Textile Exporters demand to restore the previous SBP procedure for export realization time limit of 180 days instead of revised 120 days. Otherwise, export shall face severe downfall.
It is an irony and national dilemma that the PM and FM has no time to meet Textile Exporters while on the other hand in neighbouring country, the Indian Prime Minister is meeting one-to-one with the CEO of Walmart the biggest buyer of textile worldwide. The Indian Government and its economic team is pursuing the charter of “Make in India” and they have been lobbying and influencing to appoint Indian on chief positions in leading global brands to shift their businesses to India. Recently, Nike has appointed an Indian as Head of Sourcing who will shift the existing business of Nike in Pakistan to India. Due to political vendetta of the Government and wrangling between political parties, the Foreign Buyers are refusing and cancelling their export orders to Pakistan and shifting elsewhere in the region. Those foreign supplier working with Pakistani Exporters to supply them raw materials and industrial inputs to manufacture export goods are demanding to open their LCs in UAE instead of Pakistan due to pathetic economic conditions of Pakistan, in the hands of the sitting Government. The anti-economy statements of political elements and default hue and cry have also shaken the confidence of exporters. The print and electronic media is projecting a very dark picture that Pakistan has reached to the verge of default which has created a very negative impression in the eyes of foreign buyers to deal with Pakistani exporters.
Textile Export has almost ruined during the thirteen months period of this Government and it appears that the export is heading towards complete collapse and disaster. This was stated by Muhammad Jawed Bilwani, Chairman, Pakistan Apparel Forum & Chief Coordinator, Value-Added Textile Forum, in statement to press and media.
Textile holds the major share of more than 60 percent in the national exports. Pakistan’s total Exports has been declined by 11.61 percent year-on-year basis during the period from July 2022 to April 2023 as compared to same period in 2022 to the tune of USD 23.1 billion with shortfall of USD 3 Billion precious foreign exchange. Whereas, the textile exports has been declined by 14.2 percent year-on-year basis during the period from July 2022 to April 2023 as compared to same period in 2022 to the tune of USD 13.7 billion with shortfall of USD 2.27 Billion foreign exchange. It appears that the Government is unwilling to control the situation and wants to deliberately sabotage the industry and export and foreign exchange earnings for Pakistan.
The Prime Minister, Finance Minister and their economic team have closed their eyes and ears on the repeated SOS calls to save the export industries facing most difficult times in the history of Pakistan due to unavailability of gas, lack of uninterrupted supply electricity, unavailability of industrial inputs/ raw materials owing to unwise restrictions and excessive delays in refunds to Exporters, delays in release of claims of Technology Up-gradation Scheme, discontinuation of Regionally Competitive Energy Tariff and suspension of Textile & Apparel Policy facilitation of DLTL, reflecting Government’s anti-business and anti-export conduct and behaviour.
The country is facing most disastrous economic turmoil in the history of Pakistan and all the political elements as well as the Government are equally responsible for this financial fiasco and they cannot deviate from their responsibility to revive the economy in the national interest. Lack of seriousness of the sitting Government – Prime Minister, Finance Minister and its economic team shall tantamount to complete economic and export sabotage.