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FAISALABAD: The heads and representatives of industrial and commercial organizations rejected these policies due to withdrawal of subsidy on electricity and gas for the textile sector under the pressure of IMF, one percent increase in sales tax and 20 percent interest rate by the State Bank.

They took out a rally against the excesses of the government regarding the textile sector and raised slogans in support of their demands and demanded the immediate resignation of the Federal Minister of Commerce who showed incompetence and indifference.

Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, All Pakistan Mills Association, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association, All Pakistan Sizing Industry Association, Power looms Industry Association and Pakistan Textile Exporters Association including more than 20 industrial Heads and representatives of trade organizations participated fully in the protest camp set up outside the All Pakistan Bed Sheets and Upholstery Manufacturers Association and addressed a joint press conference.

Earlier, Syed Asim Shah, Dr. Khurram Tariq, Arif Ehsan Malik, Captain Farooq Khan, Imran Mehmood Sheikh, Waheed Khaliq Rame, Ejaz Nagra, Chaudhry Muhammad Nawaz, Khawaja Amjad, Qasim Zia and others addressed the press conference. He strongly criticized the government and its policy makers by Verbatim shelling them.

He said that we want to remind them that even in these difficult situations, the textile sector is providing employment to lakhs of families. In this difficult time, the textile sector that brings valuable foreign exchange within the country is the guarantor of a stable and sustainable economy.

But the present government has left no stone unturned to destroy this sector, the destroyers of this sector themselves are giving false claims and childish consolations for its restoration, but now our patience has run out.

Dr. Khurram Tariq expressed concern and sorrow over the policies of the government officials in solving the problems faced by the textile sector. Criticizing the Federal Finance Minister, he said that the current Federal Finance Minister is no sincere to the nation and business community.

He said that a person who cannot meet his children will hear our problems when and how. He asked the FBR people to stop calling patriotic businessmen thieves as businessmen are the backbone of the country’s economy.

Waheed Khaliq Rame of Power Looms criticized the government and warned that the economic conditions of the country have deteriorated to a dangerous level. If the textile and industrial sectors do not improve soon, Pakistan will not get any benefit even from the IMF agreements. He said that instead of giving a deadline to meet the demands, proper steps should be taken.

Khawaja Amjad (PHMA) and Chaudhry Muhammad Nawaz said that the industrialists of the country work as an important pillar in the economic stability of the country and providing employment to the people.

Governments around the world play a key role in making their country a world leader in exporting value-added textiles. But the policy makers of our government have removed electricity and gas subsidies for the textile industry that manufactures export products, and have put the entire textile sector on the wall by increasing its prices.

Arif Ehsan Malik, former central chairman of APBUMA, said that we had given a 7-day deadline and demanded that the increase in electricity and gas rates be withdrawn. Banks should be allowed to open LCs for import of textile related machinery and raw materials and pending refund claims should be paid immediately to exporters.

Refund orders should be recognized as tradable and the export sector should be truly zero-rated. But it is very sad that the government did not listen to our demands.

It was our legitimate demand to the government that the decision to end the electricity and gas subsidy for the textile industry that manufactures export products and to withdraw the decision to increase the sales tax by one percent. To save the country’s textile value-added industry from closure, industrialists and exporters (stakeholders) who earn valuable foreign exchange should be taken into confidence.

Banks should be allowed to open LCs for the import of raw materials so that the problems of the industrialists and exporters of the country can be removed. But the Federal Ministry of Commerce did not make any kind of contact with the trade associations of the country, nor did anyone listen to this legitimate demand.

He said that it seems that the present government is not serious about it, with this attitude of theirs, the textile value added industry will also be closed and the industrialists and exporters will be forced to come out on the streets in protest. The Ministry of Commerce will be held responsible for any situation arising out of such strict measures, which is still unaware of his responsibility.

Imran Mehmood Sheikh said that the textile industry and SMEs sector is heading towards closure. After fierce competition in foreign markets, the space created by the industrialists and exporters was taken by the federal government Global markets are slipping out of our hands due to failed policies.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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