Synthetic fibre can accelerate textile exports

By Staff Reporter | The Express Tribune Feb 5, 2022

KARACHI: Industry experts believe that by substituting cotton with synthetic fibre, Pakistan can further boost the textile exports far above the $30 billion mark.

In a statement issued on Friday, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Vice President Hanif Lakhany pointed out that cotton prices had almost doubled in the international market over the past few days.

“This raw material alone accounts for 60% of our total production cost,” he underlined.

He was of the view that despite contributing massively towards the uplift of Pakistan’s economy - in terms of exports and local employment - the textile industry was facing huge challenges.

Pointing out the factors, he said that the “ever-increasing electricity tariffs” coupled with severe gas outages and dwindling domestic cotton production was taking a toll on the industry.

Moreover, harassment from taxmen and other authorities were adding to the woes of the businessmen, he added.

The hike in prices of cotton, a major raw material of the textile industry, had also massively increased the cost of doing business, he underlined.

Lakhany emphasised the need to restore domestic production to previous levels by fixing a support price for cotton similar to other crops.

He also suggested diversification of the raw material sources by incorporating all major synthetic fibres.

“It will require massive subsidised funding for the procurement of new machinery and plants,” he underlined.

AHL analyst Arsalan Hanif pointed out that the overall textile exports from Pakistan mainly consisted of 70% cotton and 30% man-made fibre (synthetic fibre) exports.

“Other countries export synthetic fibre more than cotton,” he said, adding that synthetic fibres - being a premium product - would not only increase textile exports but would also generate employment opportunities.

Topline Securities analyst Saad Ziker voiced hope that the textile industry would likely meet this fiscal year’s export target of $21 billion.

However, this would only be possible “if the textile companies operate at their optimum level and get as many orders as they can from foreign companies”.

In this regard, the government should play its role by encouraging the production of synthetic fibre, as it was more durable than natural fibre.

Moreover, the government should take measures to provide consistent energy supply to the industry, so that the companies could complete their production process smoothly, he said.

Such measures would help the textile industry to surpass the government’s export target of $26 billion set for FY23, he underlined.

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