The textile city plan is expected to attract foreign investment as well as create employment opportunities
By AMANULLAH BASHAR
Nov 03 - 09, 2003
The Ministry of Industries and Production is actively considering to develop a "Textile City" spread over 1000 acres of land in the industrial city of Karachi.
Obviously, the port city of Karachi has been chosen as the venue for the first textile city for the reasons giving it an edge over other urban centers of the country. Under a policy approved by the federal cabinet, textile cities would be developed in different parts of the country especially at Lahore and Faisalabad.
Prior to go ahead with the plans for the textile city, concrete steps will have to be taken for provision of uninterrupted supply for utility services, especially electricity, gas and water.
Since, textile processing consumes water in bulk, special arrangement for water supply would have to be ensured to achieve the desired results of the concept. It is worth mentioning that the textile units operating in different industrial sectors like SITE Industrial area, Landhi and Korangi Industrial area, North Karachi and Federal B Area industrial sectors have to pay huge price for acquiring the required amount of water from the tankers. As the water supply through water board did not suffice the actual need of water required in textile processing. In this respect, meetings with the City Nazim as well as the chief of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board will be held to make foolproof arrangement for water supply to the proposed textile city.
The textile city plan is expected to attract foreign investment as well as create employment opportunities by accelerating industrial activity in the largest city of the country.
As far as the location for the proposed textile city was concerned, one of the leading industrialist while talking to PAGE suggested that Nooriabad adjacent to Karachi can be possible site for the proposed city as Nooriabad was developed decades ago with an intention to develop as an industrial zone, however, due to law and order situation most of the industrial units were forced to close down their units. Now situation has been changed to the large extent and the area of Nooriabad already having infrastructure could be possible site for the proposed city. He said that elements responsible for lawlessness in that area in fact had done a great damage not only to the local people of that area but deprived the country of possibly the best industrial zone in the country because it is situated on the main trunk road that is called super high leading to the upcountry.
Presently there is a plan to set one textile city in Karachi at a place which has yet to be chosen. Besides Nooriabad, the Karachi Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) is another location where over 500 acres of land still lying vacant and can be an ideal location developing a textile city. Earlier there was a proposal for developing an IT Park at that available place; however, since IT sector did not come up to the expectations, the available land can be allocated for another textile city. This available land at the non tariff area of the export processing zone at Karachi can be an added advantage especially for the foreign investors who are looking for relocation of the textile units from the developed world. If the people at the helm of affairs launched an aggressive market campaign for selling the idea of attracting the textile units waits for relocation in the United States, Japan or other textile producing countries it may help in bringing foreign investment at a massive scale.
According to informed sources, some foreign investment has already arrived in the textile industry and joint venture agreement has been signed with Pakistani counter parts in Karachi.
In fact, the coming years with the opening of global doors for the textile industry in 2005 may prove a windfall for the textile sector in Pakistan because this sector has developed a strong base to meet the international demands in textile fabrics, fiber and other products.
Since, the United States and other developed states in Europe and Japan have already got out of the textile business; it leaves only a few contenders for Pakistan in the field of textile exports including China and India to compete in the world market.
India and China may have an edge over Pakistan in terms of price, because these countries have managed to cut down their cost of production mainly because of availability of electricity at cheaper rates, low rate of government levies and running their industries on economy of the scale.
The available market accessibility for Pakistan textile products in the European Union has played a key role in increasing Pakistan's share in the exports during last financial year.
The textile industry in Pakistan has done extremely well and giving its competitors a tough fight on the basis of quality products especially in products like bed wears, knitwear and readymade items. The industry has already made handsome investments for balancing, modernization and replacing and expansion of the existing units. The industry performed extremely well during last financial year and the contribution of the textile exports increased almost 67-70 per cent of the total exports of the country.
The government has set an export target of $12.1 billion for the current financial year. The way the textile industry has emerging as the key players in the exports, it likely to help in a great way to meet the desired level of export target.