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More industries to halt operations, warns value-added textile sector

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  • Value-added textile sector warns of job losses. 
  • Says exports have declined sharply. 
  • Around 7 million workers likely to lose jobs. 

KARACHI: Lamenting the current economic crisis, Pakistan’s value-added textile sector feared that more industries would halt their operations, which would increase the number of layoffs, The News reported Tuesday.

Associations representing the value-added textile sector, while speaking during a joint presser, said that other exports have declined sharply along with textiles. They said that it is likely to further decline to the lowest ebb amid dangerously low foreign exchange reserves.

Participants included Value-Added Textile Forum Coordinator and Pakistan Apparel Forum Chairman Muhammad Jawed Bilwani, Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association Chairman Muhammad Babar Khan, PHMA Zonal Chairman Khizer Mehboob, Pakistan Knitwear and Sweater Exporters Association Chairman Rafiq Godil, Pakistan Cloth Merchants Association former chairman Abdul Samad, and chairman of the Towel Manufacturers Association of Pakistan.

They pointed out that industries were compelled to shut down and lay off around 7 million workers, of which 4 million were the textile sector’s workforce.

Raising the matter of letters of credit, the industry representatives said that import of necessary raw materials and accessories with even nominal values such as $5,000 were denied, which dented export orders. This caused severe disruption and delays in completion and even cancellation of export orders.

This situation also led to port demurrage of various consignments, which exceeded the cost of those materials that were damaged and would now be auctioned as they were of no use to export industries.

Recently, textile exporters were also deprived of their remittances to participate in a global textile exhibition scheduled in Germany and barred from sending exhibition materials via an international courier. Participation only became possible after the intervention of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, which sought special permission from the State Bank of Pakistan for the purpose.

The value-added sector demanded the government to give it first priority instead of third in imports of raw materials compared to the imports of even essentials like wheat and edible oil and energy.

Decrying the delay in the release of sales tax refunds, they asked the government to disburse the amount in 72 hours after approval of eRPOs instead of delaying it for two months.

Industrialists have lost faith in the government because of its failure to strengthen the economy. It was impossible to operate under extreme financial stress and an economic crisis. All priority should be given to the value-added textile exporters, the presser participants demanded. The government should allow exporters to spend 20% of their foreign remittances on the import of raw material and accessories.

SBP has already allowed exporters to retain 10% of their export proceeds in Exporters Special Foreign Currency Account to spend these US dollars on various purpose e.g. foreign consultant payment, hotel booking and travelling, payment for IT equipment and software, lab testing charges, audit/ inspection/ certification charges etc.

Talking about the gas crisis, the industrialists said that amid the gas crisis in the country, particularly in Karachi, they felt deprived of a level playing field and a viable business environment.

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In a first for history, PSX crosses the 77,000 milestone.

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At 77,213.31, the benchmark KSE-100 hit an all-time high, up 1,005.15, or 1.32%, from the previous close of 76,208.16.

The government’s readiness to seal an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) following the budget was cited by analysts as the reason for the upward trend.

Experts anticipate that in an attempt to bolster its position for a fresh bailout agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the budget for the fiscal year ending in June 2025 would set aggressive fiscal goals.

Budget for Pakistan, 2024–2025
Pakistan’s budget for the fiscal year 2024–25, with a total expenditure of Rs18.877 trillion, was presented on Wednesday by Minister of Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb.

The Finance Minister, Muhammad Aurangzeb, outlined the budget highlights. He stated that the GDP growth target for the fiscal year 2024–25 is set at 3.6 percent, while the inflation rate is anticipated to stay at 12 percent.

He stated that while the primary surplus is anticipated to be 1.0 percent of GDP during the review period, the budget deficit to GDP is forecast to be 6.9 percent over the period under review.

According to the minister, tax income collection increased by 38% in the current fiscal year, and the province will receive Rs7,438 billion. The Federal Board of income expects to earn Rs12,970 billion in revenue for the upcoming fiscal year.

In contrast to the federal government’s projected net income of Rs9,119 billion, he stated that the federation’s non-tax revenue projections are set at Rs3,587 billion.

The federal government’s total outlays are projected to be Rs18,877 billion, with interest payments accounting for the remaining Rs9,775 billion.

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Pakistan currently has $14.38 billion in foreign exchange reserves.

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Pakistan’s commercial banks’ reserves, which stood at $5.28 billion at the conclusion of the week ending on June 7, rose by US$174 million, according to a central bank statement.

Reserving US$6.2 million less, the SBP now has US$9.10 billion in reserves. The causes for the decline in the reserves it had were not disclosed by the central bank.

The SBP released a statement that stated, “SBP reserves decreased by US$ 6 million to US$ 9,103.3 million during the week ended on 07-June-2024.”

The State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) foreign exchange reserves were reduced by US$ 63 million as a result of repaying external debt, with the reserves standing at US$ 9.093 billion as of earlier on June 6.

The central bank spokesperson said in a statement that as of the week that concluded on May 31, the nation’s total liquid foreign reserves were $14.31 billion.

In terms of net foreign reserves, commercial banks have US$ 5.22 billion of the overall foreign reserves, according to the SBP.

SBP reserves dropped by US$ 63 million to US$ 9,093.7 million during the week that ended on May 24, 2024, according to the announcement.

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In the local market, the price of gold plummets to Rs240,700/tola.

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Gold with a 24-karat purity level has dropped by Rs1200/tola on the local market.

Each tola of 24-karat gold is now selling for Rs240,700, with a further drop of Rs1029 bringing the price of 10 kilos of gold to Rs206,361. These figures are courtesy of the All Sarafa and Jewelers Association.

Meanwhile, after a $2 decline on the global market, one ounce of gold will be valued $2315.

A tola of gold was worth Rs 600 more on Wednesday.

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