Published Date: Nov 17, 2016
Govt. asked to take steps to resolve climate-related issues
Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Engineer Muhammad Saeed Sheikh has said that the government is the main player in offsetting the ill impacts of climate change on agriculture and agriculture-related industry.
He was talking to a delegation of Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) at his office here on Wednesday. The FCCI president said that sustainable economic policies were vital to deal with the emerging challenges. He said that everyone was fully aware of the fast changing environment changes and immediate remedial measures were to be taken at appropriate forums. He said that industrialists keep an eye on the availability of raw material, which could be easily managed from any part of the world. “It only pinches them when the prices were soared due to its shortage in the markets”, he said and added that Pakistan had harvested a bumper cotton crop of 14 million bales just few years ago but due to climatic changes coupled with other policy-related issues, it had now declined to 10 million bales. He told that some exporters had to import long staple cotton for their exportable products as Pakistani cotton had short staple. He maintained that due to deteriorating law and order situation, energy crisis and ad hoc policies, more than 20 major export-oriented units in Faisalabad had been closed down, which rendered hundreds of workers jobless in addition to depriving Pakistan of at least 1.5 billion dollars of foreign exchange. He said that Faisalabad had an agriculture university and other important research institutes, which were constantly working on climate change. “The scientists were engaged in evolving new heat tolerant varieties, which could yield maximum yield with less irrigation”, he said.
Engineer Muhammad Saeed Sheikh said that global melt down had resulted in steep decline in foreign remittances and exports. In this changed scenario, the textile sector was the only available panacea, which could not only generate much needed revenue but also provided jobs to the millions of workers, he added. He proposed that the government should reprioritize its strategy with a focused approach on textile sector, which was the main stay of national economy. He said that in first phase, the government should revive the sick units, which had a capacity to earn additional 1.5 billion dollars foreign exchange. He underlined the need for the appointment of textile minister who could pay full attention to the revival of the declining textile exports. He welcomed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor but said that the government should negotiate with the Chinese investors to launch joint ventures with Pakistani industrialists. “It would not only help upgradation of existing units but also would provide an opportunity to the Chinese investors to earn reasonable profit from their investment”, he maintained. Research analyst Samavia Batool and Dr Fahad Saeed, research fellow of SDPI, discussed various issues relating to environmental changes with the FCCI president.