LAHORE: As the yarn crisis escalates, the spinners and the value added textile sector have decided to bury their differences and resolve their issues through dialogue, with the aim to present a joint textile revival strategy to the government.
Sources said on Thursday that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani personally intervened and asked Textile Minister Rana Mohammed Farooq to bring the two warring sectors on one platform and bring an end to the nine-month old yarn crisis, which has seriously dented textile exports of the country.
The Prime Minister also expressed his displeasure over hasty and frequent changes in the yarn export policy, which has intensified the crisis instead of resolving it.
The Textile Minister who had been avoiding meeting representatives of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association was specifically asked to contact APTMA Punjab Chairman Ejaz Gohar and arrange a meeting with the value added sector entrepreneurs.
Senior Punjab Minister Raja Riaz was asked to coordinate with the Minister for Textile in this regard. A meeting was promptly arranged between representatives of the apparel sector and APTMA at the office of the Garment City at Gulberg, Lahore.
Sources privy to the meeting said Textile Minister Rana Farooq advised both sides to work in harmony. The allocation of Rs33 billion in subsidies under the textile package was denied earlier this year due to disputes between the two.
"We should bury the past and make a fresh start as more than 80 per cent of our problems are common," said Rana Zahid Tauseef during a meeting with the APTMA delegation led by Ejaz Gohar. He said both sectors have suffered due to infighting that has only benefitted competing economies. He also suggested that statements against each other should be stopped forthwith.
Chairman APTMA Punjab agreed with Tauseef and said his association simply wants to ensure the free market principle is not violated. He said the value added sector is facing genuine difficulties, which should be resolved through temporary facilitations by the federal government. He predicted that if a prudent textile policy is enforced, textile exports this year could cross $16 billion.
Both sides agreed to form a 16-member committee comprising eight members each from the value added sector and APTMA. The committee will meet in a few days to resolve the differences.
The APTMA delegation also visited Faisalabad on Thursday where informal talks were held with the value added sector representative. A formal meeting in this regard will be held in Lahore early next week.
Leading knitwear exporter Adil Butt who attended the meeting in Lahore said both sides have unnecessarily exhausted their energies during the past nine months. Common issues such as energy and power shortage, high mark-up and negative bank attitude have been neglected.
He said the crisis has underlined the need for a buffer cotton stock managed by the government to ensure the industry is not affected by sudden changes in the cotton market.
The Prime Minister was under pressure from his electorate of the cotton growing belt to resolve the crisis before harvesting speeds up. All stakeholders agreed that bringing yarn rates down to current cotton rates was not possible.