An exclusive interview with Tanveer Jamshed of
By SHABBIR H. KAZMI
Jan 15 - 21, 2001
Pakistan has an elaborate infrastructure for the
production of textiles and clothing. Textile sector contributes the
highest percentage in total exports of the country but the main
products are yarn, grey fabrics and low and medium quality made-ups.
The average unit price realization is often below the world average.
The GOP policies have always been, even today, influenced by certain
pressure groups. The result is: glut of locally produced yarn,
inadequate and inefficient weaving, processing and made-ups
manufacturing facilities. The exponential expansion of spinning
capacity has been done at the cost of other sub-sectors adding the
highest value. For this dismal situation the economic managers are
Following are the excerpts from the interview.
PAGE: How do you evaluate the performance of
Pakistan's textile industry?
TJ: Let us review the history of industrial
development in the country. I am forced to draw two conclusions: 1)
the GDP growth rate during Military rule has been higher than the
rates achieved by the elected governments and 2) the barrack people
are more smart in picking up their economic managers, be it Shoaib or
Mahboob-ul-Haq. Therefore, the industrial activities, led by the
textile sector, were at the peak. However, the vision was lost
subsequently due to formation of a troika of politicians, bureaucracy
and businessmen. The development of various pressure groups changed
the priorities. Realizing the potential of textile industry, the idea
of an autonomous Textile Ministry was agreed in early sixties. While
we failed to implement it, Sri Lanka — a country which does not
produce cotton — implemented the idea.
PAGE: Why you have been propagating the idea
of Textile Ministry?
TJ: I am proud to be the promoter of this
idea. I believe that the persistent crisis like situation in textile
industry is because of the absence of Textile Ministry. I would also
say that, to a large extent, Ministry of Commerce is responsible for
the prevailing situation. At present at least 18 divisions work under
the umbrella of the Ministry and it is not possible, physically, for
one person to do justice with an industry which earns billions of
The process of globalization and emerging intense
competition demands that the country should be managed like a
corporate entity. In modern days business strategy is developed and
implemented on the recommendations of marketing department and not by
the production manager. All other departments facilitate in making
right goods available at right time and at right price. Our failure
was due to inability to cater to the needs of the market.
PAGE: What could be the way out?
TJ: In my opinion creation of a separate
Textile Ministry is the only solution. We do not have time to debate
whether or not Pakistan should have the Ministry. It should have been
established long ago. We have used some other alternatives to avoid
creation of an independent ministry but all in vain. In India, our
next door neighbour, Textile Ministry was created in sixties.
Countries like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which do not produce cotton,
have Textile Ministry. Despite, being the fourth largest cotton
producing country, where economy and exports are largely dependent on
textiles, Pakistan does not have a Textile Ministry.
PAGE: Why there is a resistance against the
TJ: I am amazed as well as disappointed by
the delay in creation of an independent Textile Ministry. The idea was
approved during the first tenure of Benazir Bhutto and it is also
supported by the strongest lobby of textile mills — All Pakistan
Textile Mills Association. I believe that while it is a demand of the
industry, the idea has met the highest resistance by the Ministry of
Commerce. Even the present Commerce Minister, Razzak Dawood, has
emerged as the vehement opponent of the idea. I can understand the
resistance by the officials of the ministry but it disappoints me the
most is the attitude of the Minister.
PAGE: What is your suggestion to the Chief
TJ: The honourable Commerce Minister is not
only an industrialist but also an academician. He must realize that in
order to survive in the highly competitive global market, Pakistan has
to be managed like a corporate entity. The problems faced by textile
industry have to be addressed on top priority. Recently I made a
presentation to the Think-Tank of GHQ and they fully endorsed the
idea. Now it is the time for the Chief Executive to act. The Minister
should keep in mind that if the Textile Ministry is created his name
will be written in golden words in the history of Pakistan. He should
do what Faisal Hayat could not do in the past.