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KARACHI: The sluggish trend remained continued in the local cotton market on Saturday. Market sources told that trading volume remained thin because textile sector is not taking interest in buying of cotton amid increasing threats of lock down during the third wave of coronavirus.

Cotton Analyst Nassem Usman told Business Recorder that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has exempted up to June 30, 2021 the importers of cotton yarn from payment of customs duty.

According to a notification issued by the FBR on Thursday, the federal government has waived the whole of customs duties on import of cotton yarn (other than sewing thread) containing 85 percent or more by weight of cotton, not put up for retail sale; cotton yarn (other than sewing thread) containing less than 85percent by weight of cotton, not put up for retail sale and cotton yarn (other than sewing thread) put up for retail sale. This notification shall remain in force till June 30, 2021.

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) had withdrawn customs duty on import of cotton yarn in order to facilitate the value-added exporters.

It is pertinent to mention here that the regulatory duty was already withdrawn in December 2020 on the recommendation of the commerce ministry.

Now the value-added manufacturers and exporters can import cotton yarns at zero-percent customs duty.

Regional Committee for Cotton and Textiles, led by former President FPCCI and Chairman of the Businessmen Panel Mian Anjum Nisar, called on Muhammad Asim, in-charge of Monsanto and Bayer Crop Science Regulatory Science Team Pakistan at his Lahore office.

The difference in cotton production between Pakistan and India of Monsanto Technology and how the significant difference in the volume of cotton production between Pakistan and India came into effect in the meeting.

Pakistani cotton production has not been even a quarter of the Indian cotton. India using Monsanto technology increased its cotton production from 10 million bales to 40 million bales and Pakistan still has 5.6 million bales of cotton.

During the meeting, the committee was briefed on the details of Monsanto’s dealings with the Pakistani government in different periods since 2007 and said that their affairs in Pakistan could not move forward if the legal requirements were not met.

Muhammad Asim also briefed about the affairs of Snefa, a company set up by five major textile groups in Pakistan. Chairman Anjum Nisar said that due to the decline in cotton production we are losing billions of Dollars in foreign exchange which is a tragedy.

He said he would try to take the matter further by talking to the government and Snefa. Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry will make every effort to increase cotton production.

Mean While, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has requested the government to review its decision of 10 holidays at Eid-ul-Fitr as such a decision will massively hit the country industry’s production and subsequently exports.

The industry is of the view that Covid-19 related restrictions should be announced and implemented separately whereas Eid holidays should not be more than four days i.e. from May 13 to May 17 instead of a long stretch of 10 days. This will practically shut down Pakistan’s business sector from May 8 to May 17, 2021.

According to APTMA’s patron–in-chief Gohar Ijaz, in Bangladesh, the textile industry that provides single-source economic growth in its rapidly developing socio-economic environment has announced only three holidays for Eid. He said the country is expected to face production loss of $ 850,000 per day during holidays.

Naseem also told that government should take initiative of growing cotton in the desert areas with the support of Chinese scientists under China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

According to final fortnightly report of Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) for the cotton season 2020-21 released to media on Monday, Punjab arrival figures stood at 3.5 million or 3,509,798 bales while Sindh contributed over 2.1 million or 2,136,169 bales. PCGA could not release fortnightly reports during Apr 2021 due to the pandemic and the final report released Monday does not carry last year’s statistics for the month of April. The PCGA report says, “Data was not collected last year on May 1, 2020 due to Covid-19”. Hence, final report does not show comparison of today’s statistics with last year’s data.

However, PCGA’s mid March 2021 report does indicate the shortfall then stood at 34.16 per cent compared to corresponding period i.e year 2020, when arrivals were recorded 8.57 million bales. Cotton production plunged new low this year prompting the governments to take initiatives to revive past production patterns and move forward to touch new highs. Vice President, Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) Dr Muhammad Ali Talpur had said a few days ago that a proposal was under consideration by the govt to announce cotton support price to encourage farmers.

More Over, reports being received from the fields suggest that the measures so far taken by the Punjab government have failed to attract growers towards sowing cotton this year. The acreage and production of cotton in the province has been on the decline for the last many years.

An official of the provincial agriculture department said that reports of cotton sowing, which began on April 1, are not promising. The crop has been sown on 10-12 per cent less area compared with that of last year, he added.

Currently, the crop is mostly being sown in Bahawalpur, Multan, Lodhran, Bahawalnagar and Rahim Yar Khan districts, while Khanewal, Layyah, Sahiwal districts are lagging in this respect.

Punjab is to sow the crop on 1.6m hectares of land to produce 6.07m bales. The agriculture department has issued a schedule for sowing of registered cotton varieties and advised the growers to complete sowing of registered Bt cotton varieties between April 1 and May 31.

The Bt cotton varieties recommended by the department include IUB-13, MNH-886, BS-15, Niab-878, and FH-142. Growers have been advised to consult local experts if they plan to sow other registered Bt cotton varieties keeping in view the environment of their district to get better production.

They have also been advised to cover 10pc of their lands with non-Bt varieties so that attacking pests do not develop resistance against Bt varieties.

The spot rate remained unchanged at Rs 11300 per maund. The Polyester Fiber was available at Rs 200 per kg.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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