All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) announced to close mills all over the country on Tuesday to observe Black Day against the anti-industry, anti-investment and anti-export policies of the government. The protest will be held outside APTMA offices and mills in Lahore, Karachi, Multan, Faisalabad and Peshawar. Chairman APTMA Aamir Fayyaz announced this while addressing the press conference along with APTMA Punjab President Syed Ali Ahsan and senior leaders Gohar Ejaz, S M Tanveer and Ali Pervez Malik on Saturday.

Aamir Fayyaz launched a protest campaign for restoration of viability of textile industry. Protestors in Lahore, Karachi, Multan, Faisalabad and Peshawar offices of APTMA chanted slogans against the hostile attitude of government policymakers, saying that the anti-industry, anti-investment and anti-export behaviour was detrimental to the viability and sustainability of textile industry in Pakistan.

The protestors also burnt Indian yarn and fabric outside the APTMA Lahore office. Earlier, Chairman APTMA chaired a general body meeting of zonal offices through video link, followed by the media talk to express his dismay over the delay in implementation of Rs 180 billion package and non-allocation of funds in the recently announced budget. “Mere announcements will not help increase exports unless words are translated into action.”

He cautioned that the country’s trade deficit has soared to $32 billion with rise in imports to $52 billion against less than $20 billion exports in 2016-17. “Remittances have fallen below $19 billion and the government has resorted to borrow and burden the country with additional foreign and domestic debts.” He warned of further decline in exports and investment in case the government kept looking towards borrowing instead of following an export-led growth strategy as the only way forward.

“The government should rely upon the export sector rather than pursuing the IMF for additional debt,” he continued. “Besides an export-oriented growth strategy and release of refunds, the government should remove surcharges from the electricity tariff that cannot be exported to the international market,” he said and added that the government should also supply both system gas and LNG at Rs 400 per MMBTU without levies and the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess.

He announced holding of a joint textile industry convention in Islamabad in July to start a countrywide movement after Eid, if government failed to meet export sector demands. In the end, he appealed to the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take stock of the situation and steer the industry out of crisis for the sake of millions of jobs before it is too late.

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