We just want interests of workers protected in all institutions: Malkani
KARACHI: The provincial government is not interested in taking over Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) due to financial constraints, said Sindh Minister for Industries Mohammad Ali Malkani.
“We are not against the privatisation of any institution including PSM. We just want to see the interest of workers protected at the PSM and all other institutions,” he said, during his visit to the Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA) House on Tuesday, according to a PHMA press release.
Malkani is the first high-level representative of the Sindh government, who has so far given a clear statement regarding the privatisation of PSM. The federal government recently offered the Sindh government the takeover of the entity.
The dejected federal government is looking at different avenues to privatise the entity, but it is continuously facing opposition from Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), the ruling party in Sindh.
The minister said the provincial government was aware of the problems faced by the industrial sector, especially due to the electricity and water shortage in Sindh. “We will take all stakeholders on board while finalising the next provincial budget to resolve all major issues faced by the business community in Sindh,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan Apparel Forum Chairman Jawed Bilwani said the value-added textile associations want the government to take back the 10% increase in duty on cotton yarn imports to reduce the cost of production of finished textile products in the country.
“The government has completely overlooked the interests of the value-added textile sector,” he said.
The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) – the representative association of the textile sector that mainly represents the spinning industry or yarn manufacturers – met with the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and other government officials on Saturday.
The government, after the meeting, announced 10% regulatory duty on imports of cotton yarn, grey and processed fabric, particularly from India, in a bid to protect the domestic industry from dumping of cheap raw material.
The move pushes effective duty on the import of these materials to 15%, as these items are already subject to 5% customs duty. The decision will take effect from November 1, 2015.
According to the value-added textile sector, they participated in the meeting to get some relief from the government since exports were declining drastically.
“Saturday’s meeting has resulted in a further enhancement of cost to the value-added products by 3% to 4%,” they said.
They believe the reduction in cost of manufacturing is imperative in order to sustain in the international market.
Pakistan’s foreign buyers are shifting to regional competitors as these countries are supporting their textile industry by offering host of incentives in cash and also via reducing input cost, especially in the form of cheap utilities.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2015.
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