APTMA concerned over falling economic indicators


All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Chairman Mohsin Aziz has expressed deep concerns over falling economic indicators, likely to dampen growth of textile industry further if no timely action is taken by authorities concerned.
He said a sharp decline of 61 per cent in foreign private investment during four months of current fiscal year, lowest-ever growth rate and increase in Non Performing Loans (NPLs) to Rs629 billion has affected industry at large.
APTMA chairman said both unbearable interest rate regime and short supply of gas to textile industry are prime reasons behind negative economic indicators. Economic state of affairs is full of negative signals and whole economy is likely to be trapped into NPLs in case policymakers fail to take timely actions.
He expressed fear that NPLs are likely to catch up further due to deteriorating state of textile industry which is being denied by gas supply on SNGPL network. Gas supply to industry is in doldrums on SNGPL network, as supply has been reduced to four days a week against five days a week previously, he said. Gas curtailment for three days during a week has impaired 40 per cent capacity of industry he added.
He asked if there was any policymaker on earth who could suggest textile industry a recipe to perform with short energy supply and such exorbitantly interest rate but still survive and keep on making payments to banks in these circumstances.
APTMA Chairman pointed out that textile industry performs in a highly competitive environment world over and absence of a level playing field is detrimental to growth of textile industry in Pakistan. He said interest rate is not in double digits anywhere in the region, a phenomenon exclusively rare to Pakistan. Mohsin said textile industry has outperformed all industrial sectors last year by achieving record exports of $14 billion and although there was curtailment for two days and could have achieved over $15 billion if that was even corrected. He said uninterrupted gas supply becomes more urgent for textile industry which has a share of 9 per cent in GDP and employs a workforce of 15 million directly and indirectly in the country. He said President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani as well as federal Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain should immediately intervene to not only ensure minimum five days a week gas supply but also bring down interest rate to single digit for sustainable growth of textile industry in larger interest of national economy.