imageISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is said to have deprived All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) of the Vice Presidency of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC), a body responsible for taking important decisions regarding research, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

Sources said, Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet in its meeting on July 3, 2012 had approved the proposed reconstitution of the PCCC with the direction that functional restructuring/ business plan for PCCC should be submitted to the ECC separately.

A high-level meeting presided over by the Finance Minister was informed that Shahzad Ali Khan, a nominee of APTMA was appointed as Vice President, PCCC on July 17,.2013. However, his appointment as member and VP of PCCC was terminated on 8 May, 2013 under Rule 3(2) of Cotton Cess Rules 2012 on the orders of Minister for Textile Industry as the former was found to be contesting General Election 2013.

It was pointed out that APTMA was requested several times to send a panel of three names for the post but APTMA insisted on re-nominating Shahzad Ali Khan for the said position which was not acceptable to the Government in view of his performance. Meanwhile, the Textile Industry Division has given the additional charge of the post to the Cotton Commissioner to prepare the annual budget of the PCCC and to look after its day-to-day affairs.

It was further pointed out that the matter regarding restructuring of the PCCC has been considerably delayed; firstly because the plan submitted by a chartered accountancy firm, hired on the insistence of APTMA, was found to be lacking in areas pointed out by the committee constituted by the ECC and secondly because the revised version, whenever ready, would need to be approved by the PCCC.

It was stated that since the PCCC was primarily a scientific research organization for developing new seed varieties and virus protection methodologies for the cotton crop in the country, therefore, giving its control to APTMA did not seem appropriate in view of the non-technical nature of APTMA nominees, etc. Moreover, there is already an over-representation of APTMA in the PCCC.

According to sources, Textile Division had proposed that: (i) the decision taken by the ECC in its meeting on July 3, 2012 on the restructuring of PCCC may be withdrawn; (ii) the Vice President's position may be advertised in the press and an experienced and senior research scientist be hired against this post as recommended by the Planning Commission; and (iii) committee may be reduced to 15 members, as per proposed revised composition.

The meeting observed that it would be in the fitness of things to include some progressive growers from the provinces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to ensure representation of the said provinces in the proposed composition of the PCCC. Besides, inclusion of another member of the APTMA was also felt desirable. After a detailed discussion, the meeting decided that the number of members of the PCCC be reduced from 25 to 18 and the composition of the PCCC may be revised with the addition of one progressive grower each from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan and one member to be nominated by the APTMA Board in addition to the Chairman APTMA.-MUSHTAQ GHUMMAN