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KARACHI: National Business Group chairman Mian Zahid Hussain has said that cotton imports from Afghanistan and Central Asia should be allowed via Torkham while import from India must be considered in the national interest.

He said cotton scarcity and hoarding had become a threat to the largest export sector.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that India was the cheapest and quickest option to fulfill the demand and supply gap which had increased prices by 40 percent in two months.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that imports through the land route was the best option as it would also discourage hoarding.

Therefore, imports via Torkhum should be allowed for 15 months while imports from India for the next four to six months should be considered in line with the demand of different textile associations.

“Why can’t we import cotton from India while pharma products are already being imported?” he asked.

He said that local cotton production had been falling for the last fifteen years, but it only made headlines during the last two years as farmers were switching to other crops.

He said that the textile sector needed 12 million bales annually, and they would need to spend billions to bridge the shortfall, but it was the only available option to fulfill their commitments.

“The textile sector is the biggest employment provider which should be helped to overcome problems in the national interest,” he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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