Published Date: May 7, 2016
Pakistan heading towards peace, prosperity: Dastagir
Federal Minister of Commerce and Industries Khurram Dastgir Khan has said that from extremism and loadshedding, Pakistan is heading towards peace, stability and prosperity.
The minister was speaking at the launch of a World Bank report on ‘Stitches to riches: apparel employment, trade, and economic development’ jointly organised here by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and the World Bank.
Dastagir said that people are coming to invest in Pakistan but more research is needed to devise policies in this regard. He said that apparel forms only 70 per cent of our textile sector export and we largely export raw and semi-raw material. He said exporters are happy to export raw material to China and even to Bangladesh. These countries in turn add value to the material to sell to better markets globally. He said that Pakistan must boost its exports of man-made products.
SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyoum Suleri in his welcome speech said that recommendations of the World Bank report should be brought to the knowledge of Parliament for policy inclusion.
Patchamuthu Ilangovan, the Country Director of World Bank, Pakistan, said that over the last couple of years, Pakistan stabilised its economy, but structural reforms are required to move further. He said private sector needs to come forward and take entrepreneurial risks. Public sector has to bring reforms, he said adding that to bring improvement in the sector, access to finance needs to be improved which at present is low. Only 15-18% families have bank accounts and only 3 per cent women have access to finance.
SDPI Deputy Executive Director Dr Vaqar Ahmed said that competitiveness of apparel sector in Pakistan is affected by many impediments, which include regulatory and political constraints, high and complex tariffs structure imports, weak compliance with labour and environmental regulations. He said monetary constraints further impound the condition. He said Pakistan should participate in value and supply chain at global level to enhance competitiveness.
According to the report, export-oriented apparel production could create more jobs in Pakistan, if the country increases its product diversity and reliability and take advantage of new markets. With relatively low skill requirements, apparel manufacturing gives the poor more opportunities, the report added.