Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that Pakistan is a big cotton producing country but is far behind in textile sector and hence stressed the need for promotion of textile industry for increasing exports and strengthening of national economy.
He was addressing the concluding session of the first international textile and clothing conference, arranged by Punjab Board of Investment and Trade, on Monday.
Federal Minister for Trade Khurram Dastagir Khan, Advisor on Economic Affairs Dr Ijaz Nabi, Vice Chairman Punjab Investment Board Maratab Ali, Chairman Planning and Development as well as a large number of local and foreign industrialists were present on this occasion. The CM said the Punjab government is setting up a modern garment economic zone over a large area a few kilometres away from the provincial metropolis, which will not only result in development of garment industry but generation of thousand of job opportunities as well.
He said textile sector will have to be strengthened for increasing national exports and fully benefiting from the status of GSP Plus. He said the industrialists and traders will have to come forward and play their role for giving a practical shape to the project of garment economic zone. According to him, the conference would play an important role in promoting awareness about the importance of textile sector and interaction between stakeholders.
Pakistan despite being a big producer of cotton is lagging behind Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries. In order to achieve due status among the textile producing countries, full attention will have to be paid to textile sector, which is very important for national economy. There is a need for increasing trade with neighbouring countries.
He lamented that hundreds of trucks keep on weighting for hours for custom clearance at Wagha border, which results in wastage of time and setback to trade activities. He said the trade ministry should pay attention to this issue.
“Pakistan has talented and progressive businessmen,” he added. The Chief Minister said scope of skill development programme launched in south Punjab with the co-operation of UK Department of International Development is being extended to 18 districts of the province, thousands of youths are being imparted training under this programme to meet the industrial requirements of the country. Skill development programme is free from corruption and red tapism and its scope will gradually be extended to the whole province.
Value-addition products cannot be promoted without vocational training, therefore, the Punjab government is paying special attention to the technical training programme,” he added. Federal Trade Minister Engineer Khurram Dastagir Khan while addressing the function said that textile sector will have to harmonise with the demand of modern age for its progress.
He said there is need for encouragement of value added products. “The Federal government is determined to strengthen textile sector under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif,” he added.