FPCCI Proposes Charter of Economy to New Government Irfan Iqbal Sheikh
Karachi (PR): Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President FPCCI, has termed the ever-decreasing cotton production as a direct threat to the very economic security of the country; as it is one of the most significant cash crop and, above all, it provides the indigenous raw material to Pakistan’s largest exportable product category, i.e. textiles. Additionally, textiles exports are all set to cross $20 billion in the outgoing fiscal year. On the other hand, cotton production has been reduced to 6 – 7 million bales per year, he added.
Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that Pakistan’s textiles products can become much more competitive, provided we start producing the entire raw material domestically or at least resume the previous levels of 10 – 12 million bales / year. He added that importing 1 million bales results in the outflow of $1 billion of precious foreign exchange.
FPCCI Chief explained that 60% cost of producing the textile products lies with the raw material of cotton; therefore, cotton is our lifeline as far as the lion’s share of our exports are concerned. Producing more cotton will also strengthen our foreign exchange reserves; improve abysmal trade balance and put a halt to the incessant rupee depreciation.
Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh noted with deep concern that total cotton cultivation area has declined by 1 million hectares; and, if the government and agriculturalists can collectively reclaim that area from other crops like sugarcane, Pakistan can produce an additional 5 million bales per year and save $5 billion.
Khawaja Muhammad Zubair, Chairman of Karachi Cotton Association, maintained that the lack of governmental support and unavailability of certified and high-quality cotton seeds are also hampering the cotton production of the country. He added that, given the upward trend in export orders and domestic consumption, total cotton requirement of the country may climb to 17 million bales – and, Pakistan simply can not afford to import 10 million bales of cotton.
Brig Iftikhar Opel, SI (M), Retd.