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No plan in Budget to ensure level-playing field for exporters: PHMA


ISLAMABAD, JUN 14: The Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA) on Wednesday called for promoting industrialization and enhancing exports by providing export industry a level-playing field through continuation of regionally competitive energy tariffs, paying early refunds to solve liquidity crunch and relaxing import policy for industrial raw material, as the Budget 2023-24 has no such provisions.

PHMA Zonal chairman Naseer Butt, while addressing a meeting, held here to discuss the post-budget perspective of the country, observed that the present budget lacks major objective of giving a long-term direction to the value-added knitwear export-oriented industry, as no visible reduction in cost of doing business or cut in taxes in budget has been announced to speed up the growth or create new jobs in the country. He said that Pakistan needed millions of jobs annually but the government had not taken any concrete step in federal budget for job creations for the unemployed youth.

The PHMA in its Executive Committee meeting discussed the current economic situation of the country and also passed resolution to make all-out efforts to enhance value-added textile exports to support the government and heal the economic turmoil by earning more foreign exchange, as the country needs dollars through jump in export not through foreign funding or loans.

Showing serious concern over the proposed new tax on dollars’ gain, which is very dangerous for the export industry and which is prevailing nowhere in the region or in any part the world, he pointed out that in present outlook, only exporters are at the front to bring dollars to Pakistan. The Value-Added Textile Export Industry is battling hard in the wake of stiff competition from regional competing countries.

He stated that the exporters had been demanding of the government to take concrete steps in the upcoming Federal Budget 2023-24 to keep industrial wheel running especially of knitwear SMEs, saving the livelihood of millions of workers associated with the small industries. In this budget too, the government attempted to squeeze the neck of old taxpayers instead of taking efforts to bring new taxpayers into tax net. Budget FY24 is an attempt to satisfy IMF on key matters relating to revenue collection, subsidy reductions, as it was not an export-oriented budget. The finance minister did not announce any concrete steps towards exports enhancement. Our cost of doing business is going up due to high electricity rates and unfriendly business environment in the country.

PHMA leader also asked the Prime Minister and his economic team to ensure level-playing field by providing concessional energy tariffs and Duty Drawback on Local Taxes and Levies as committed in the new five year textile and apparel policy, as the DLTL payments have been pending for a long time.

Naseer Butt urged the federal government to continue supporting the export-oriented sector for the sake of economic stability, employment creation and revenue generation in the national interest.

He said that value-added textile exporters want continuation of grants by the government to provide concessional energy tariffs to ensure level-playing field to export industries for the purpose of regional competitiveness and export enhancement. In view of unviable cost of manufacturing, exports have been suffering for the last many months.

The decline in textile exports is concerning for the country, which is heavily dependent on the textile sector for much-needed US dollars, as our central bank has reserves of just over $4 billion remaining, barely enough for a month of essential imports.

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