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Withdrawal of power sector subsidy to hit exports: FPCCI

LAHORE: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has expressed apprehension that withdrawal of power sector subsidy would put country’s exports on further decline.

The FPCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh told media here Saturday that exports had for the last six months been decreasing i.e. August 2022 – February 2023 as per the data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

He added that according to latest statistics, Pakistan’s exports had declined by a hefty 18.67 per cent in February 2023 on a YoY (year on year) matrix from US $ 2.83 billion in February 2022 to US $ 2.31 billion in February 2023, which called for emergent measures to cope with trend.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that power subsidy had to end by June 2023 with a tangible possibility of renewal or renegotiation. However, the government had withdrawn it for export-oriented industries as well.

FPCCI President said that textiles and its allied products had lion’s share in the country’s exports and they had achieved the number of US $ 19.3 billion exports in FY 22 through their hard work, entrepreneurship, competitiveness and resilience in the face of COVID-induced challenges as well.

On this occasion, FPCCI Senior Vice President Suleman Chawla said that textile industry was suffering on multiple counts:

(i) unavailability of sufficient quantities of domestically produced cotton due to floods and continuously reducing crop area;

(ii) import of cotton on a more than 50 percent devalued rupee in a short-span of less than one year; which accounted for 60 per cent of the total cost of production of textiles;

(iii) unavailability of dollars to settle import LCs for raw materials & machinery;

(iv) demurrage, container and terminal charges;

(v) acute shortages of raw material of cotton; resulting in closure of many textile units;

(vi) additionally, the withdrawal of power subsidy.