ISLAMABAD: Comm­erce Minister Naveed Qamar on Wednesday said that the government was committed to providing a level playing field and reducing the cost of doing business for export-oriented sectors to bring down the current account deficit.

He expressed these views while addressing a virtual session organised by South Punjab Investment Forum in collaboration with USAID.

“I am glad to inform you that textile exports during FY22 reached a historically high level of $19.3 billion despite the fallout of Covid-19 and severe economic challenges,” said the minister.

It was time to promote value-added products, he said, insisting: “I assure you that our incentives would only be available to value-added products.”

Mr Qamar highlighted the steps taken by the government, including the supply of energy at competitive tariffs, disbursement of around Rs42bn from April to June 2022 to mitigate prevailing liquidity issues due to severe economic challenges, duty-free import of cotton and reduction of customs duties on import of dyes and chemicals, adding that duty-free import of textiles and apparel machinery has been continued.

He said the commerce ministry had formulated the Textiles and Apparel Policy 2020-25, which would address matters like value addition, product diversification, skill development, productivity and ease of doing business, etc.

“We need to attract investment in the textiles and apparel sector to enhance our manufacturing capacities. I would also like to remind you that SMEs across the world are engines of growth for any country,” he remarked.

He stressed the need to encourage “Make in Pakistan” products, noting Pakistan had less than 2pc share in the global textile market, which needed to be enhanced with practical steps.

Meanwhile, Mr Qamar also held a meeting with Fina­nce Minister Miftah Ismail and National Food Security Minister Tariq Chee­ma to discuss the import of weed-resistant cotton seeds. The indus­try has urged the government to allow the import of cotton from India.

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2022

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