Pakistan's textile industry, which is leading the
rally of strong macroeconomic indicators, is about to make history by
hitting the mark close to $10 billion at the end of the current
According to figures available, the textile exports
have already crossed over the export target of $8.7 billion set for the
current fiscal and the total exports during the said period was
estimated at $8.9 billion at the end of the first nine months of the
current year. Keeping in view the exports pattern during the first nine
months, one can safely calculate that the total volume of textile
exports would be close to $10 billion which will certainly be a mile
stone in the economic growth of the country.
The outstanding performance of the textile sector in
fact is the beginning of the scenario where this prime industrial sector
is going to assume a dominating role over other export-oriented sectors
in the country.
Though the incentive of duty free export of products
under textile quota may be phased out by the European Union in coming
January 2005 with the implementation of WTO rules, yet it would affect
the growing role of the textile sector in EU as the textile quota would
be granted to Pakistan textiles to enter into the market of new addition
of ten East European countries into the EU fold from May 2004.
The newly available market in the East European
countries might have more appetite for Pakistan textile products in view
of the identical demand of fabrics produced in this country as compared
to the extremely choosy market in the Western European countries.
Experts are of the view that inclusion of ten more countries into EU
zone which would be required to give MFN status to Pakistan are expected
to double the existing volume of textile exports to the EU zone.
With the start of WTO next January, the withdrawal of
generalized System of Preferences (GSP) which allows duty free access to
EU market which according to an estimated initially hit the exports by
25 percent to the EU market. However this reduction in exports can be
overcome by entering to the additional market of 10 more countries into
Besides noticeable expansion in the EU and the US
market, another opening was also visible in South Asian market
especially in India, Sri Lanka and other countries which call for
serious attention of capacity building of the textile and other
export-oriented industries in Pakistan. Though the textile leaders were
conscious of the situation and have done exceptionally well by investing
The project of Karachi Textile City was in an advance
stage as a large piece of land spread over 1250 acres has already been
acquired near Port Qasim where large scale textile units would be
operating by the private sector in a free zone style. The entire produce
of this textile city would be meant for exports which expected to add
another $2.5 billion to the export regime of the country.
According to textile commissioner, Mohammad Idrees, a
joint stock company has been formed to run this project and a ten member
board of directors has also been appointed which would be headed by the
Federal Secretary for Production and Industries. The joint stock company
has been formed with a seed money of Rs one billion while the total cost
of the textile city project was estimated at Rs9 billion. This project
besides reinforcing the textile exports would create job opportunities
at least to 80,000 people directly or indirectly in Karachi.
The size of cotton crop is generally estimated at 10
million bales per year, which so far was suffice to cater to the need of
the textile industry. However, with the expansion in the capacity, the
demand for cotton has also increased and currently the industry requires
at least 12 million bales a year creating a shortfall of at least 2
million bales. This shortfall in demand and supply may further aggravate
in future if the steps were not taken for per acre yield in the country
and bring more land under cotton cultivation.
Balochistan which has recently entered into cotton
cultivation has produced commendable results by producing contamination
free cotton in certain areas. In order to enhance the size of cotton
crop more land can be brought under cultivation in Balochistan provided
the basic need of water was made available to the farmers.
Agriculture can turn the vast uncultivated land
tracts into gold mines provided water, the life giving factor was made
available to the farmers in Balochistan. There was a suggestion that
saline water after treatment can be used for cultivation Balochistan on
the pattern of what it is being done in some Gulf countries for raising
different crops in their deserted areas.