Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA), welcoming Prime Minister Imran Khan’s pledge of economic reforms and his vision to boost exports, has asked him to declare ‘export emergency’ in the country to control the decline in the export sector. PRGMEA Senior Vice Chairman Sheikh Luqman Amin said Pakistan’s current account deficit surged by more than 40 per cent in fiscal year 2018-19 to $18 bn.

Presently, there is only a desire to revive the economy, but an actual agenda backed by pragmatic analysis and research is missing, as the monstrous debt, and huge fiscal and current account deficits are symptoms of an ailing economy. He said that low export is a major reason for the growing trade deficit, with the Prime Ministers forming just committees to address the deficiency. He said that a committee was also formed by former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The current economic team is good and they need to increase exports by any means, as low export levels are a major reason for the growing trade deficit.

He said that the value-added textile exporters want the Federal Government to formulate separate policies for various sub-sectors of the textile industry in order to resolve their sector-specific issues and problems. Sheikh Luqman Amin said the different sub-sectors of the country’s large textile industry could not be treated at par because of their different and varying needs and requirements. Hence, he said, the new government and Textile Ministry should formulate separate policies for the value-added and other sub-sectors of the industry in order to facilitate improved production and export. He said that PRGMEA is the main stakeholder of the apparel sector. And apparel industry is playing a pivotal role in foreign exchange earnings and generating large employment in the whole textile chain and exporting upto $5 bn textile products.

The PRGMEA Senior Vice Chairman hoped that the new government would initiate the process of dialogue with the representatives of all the sectors of the textile industry to get their input for the formulation of a new policy. He said the value-added textile exporters were facing a severe problem in meeting the export orders due to multiple reasons, seeking the attention of the government on the issues of ease of doing business; cost of doing business, one window operation, minimum interference of bureaucracy and formulation of a counsel of all stakeholders to resolve the issues of exporters.

Sheikh Luqman stressed the need of early clearance of outstanding refund cases. He urged the new government to take immediate steps for clearance of outstanding refund cases to protect the industry from total collapse.

High cost of doing business, issues of market access and exchange rate are hindering the Pakistan exports growth and the government will have to work on it in consultation with the stakeholders to resolve the problems. We are hopeful that country will progress rapidly in changed political culture and will put the country on the path of progress and prosperity, he added.

Sheikh Luqman said the PRGMEA wants economic progress and prosperity of the country and for this purpose, just right directions are needed to be set in consultation with the stakeholders. “We need to work together to overcome trade deficit and take steps to increase industrial and economic growth.”