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Crisis looms for Pakistan’s textile industry with cotton trucks stranded in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: Supply crisis looms large over Pakistan’s textile industry as over 150 trucks laden with cotton are collecting dust on Pak-Afghan border as they are not allowed to enter the country.

The Ministry of National Food Security has refused to issue permission to the trucks containing cotton from Central Asian states to enter Pakistan, and instead instructed them to seek clearance from the Karachi port.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had instructed the Economic Coordination Committee on January 5 to wave off duty on the import of cotton.

However, a notification in this regard was withheld for several days reportedly on the behest of influential cotton growers, and now the trucks are being allowed permission inside Pakistan.

Sources revealed that influential cotton hoarders have created an artificial shortage to raise the price of cotton. This can further aggravate the situation and create a crisis if the issue is not resolved within a few days.

The textile industry is responsible for seventy percent of Pakistan’s exports, and provides employment to thousands of workers.

The industry had witnessed increase in operational cost in 2017 due to the rising prices of gas and electricity.

In recent days over thirty textile mills have stopped production, while more than hundred mills have been forced to close in recent years.

Experts say that the local textile industry, which is already facing immense difficulty competing in the region can be hit hard by cotton supply crisis if the issue is not resolved.

Reported by Mazhar Iqbal

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