Friday April 19, 2024

Modernising hosiery industry to boost exports

April 01, 2024
In this image, a worker operates a machine in a factory. — APP/File
In this image, a worker operates a machine in a factory. — APP/File

FAISALABAD: As Pakistan’s industrial sector witnessed an overall decline in recent years, reorganising and modernising this sector would be an uphill task for the new government.

With two seasoned politicians in the driving seats as President of Pakistan and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the business community hopes for revolutionary steps to make local industry compatible with international standards for capturing more markets. Due to the volatile situation in the country during the past half decade and rising input expenditures, many small industrialists are reluctant to invest more in the textile sector, especially the hosiery industry. The businessmen are continuing with old and obsolete machinery although it costs them much than the latest technology, making their products incompatible with goods being sold in the international market.

“Most of our machinery is old and tromped, causing heavy energy wastage besides other inefficiencies in our overall production process,” remarked Mian Abdur Rasheed, a veteran industrialist. “As they use old motors, their energy cost jumps up due to wastage of energy. Even then they prefer to pay high cost in energy bills.” When asked about the reasons behind this tendency, he said that these industrialists witnessed uncertain situations in the recent years and were reluctant to invest more to replace their old motors. “Therefore, we expect the new government to direct its departments to focus on these issues and provide owners free consultation to improve their efficiency and control energy wastage,” he stated. “Although, individually these are small units, yet collectively they are contributing a sizable share in local economy employing thousands of workers,” he said, adding that therefore, they should be facilitated and guided to benefit from modern technologies to enhance their profitability.

As the hosiery sector can be segregated into local and export units, Jinnah Colony Faisalabad, Islam Nagar, Gulistan Colony, Haji Abad, Guru Nanak Pura have emerged as a hub of small hosiery units for local consumption while the major export units are housed in Millat Town, Jaranwala-Khurrianwala Industrial Belt, Value-Added City, Allama Iqbal Industrial Estate and Small Industrial Estate near Nalka Kohala. When contacted different local hosiery owners, their problems felt identical as also faced by the overall industrial sector like the high cost of doing business and non-availability of cheaper raw materials like fine counts of yarn consumed by hosiery units. “We think the uncertainty prevailed in the country in the recent past and high energy tariff were the major causes to hamper the growth of the hosiery industry to a desired level,” remarked a spokesman for the Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers Association (PHMA) North Zone. He said that hosiery was a value-added sector playing a major role in enhancing national exports and earning precious foreign exchange for the country. But, prices of electricity, gas and oil products constrain them from growing and re-investment to install state-of-the-art units. “High mark-up rate and unavailability of raw material are other issues confronting this sector and needed to be addressed on war footing to save this industry,” he added. Since Pakistan’s major export portion is related to the textile sector, its hosiery is an integral part of the value-added sector. But, simply taking the instance of Faisalabad - a home to the hosiery industry - our value added sector could not grow as desired. “Pakistan is bestowed with valuable natural resources and a unique geo-political situation.