Musharraf Era Textile Boom Returning to Pakistan?
Pakistan textile industry is booming with exports soaring 27% to more than $6 billion in the first four months (July-October) of the current fiscal year. “We believe that $5 billion investment (in textile industry) in the Musharraf era would be matched in the next six to eight months” says Zubair Motiwala, a leading textile industrialist and chairman of Businessmen Group (BMG), as quoted in the Pakistani media reports. Pakistan textile exports more than doubled from $5.2 billion to more than $11 billion during Musharraf years. Exports soared 19.43% in 2001, 20% in 2004, 24.5% in 2005 and 11.23% in 2006, all on President Musharraf's watch, according to "The Rise and Fall of Pakistan's Textile Industry: An Analytical View" published by Javed Memon, Abdul Aziz and Muhammad Qayyum.
Pakistani government officials report that the textile sector has invested $3-3.5 billion on modernization and expansion in the last 2-3 years and the investment is likely to match the $5 billion that was witnessed during Musharraf era when the sector was undergoing major modernization, balancing and replacement (BMR). Textile machinery imports jumped 110% in the last four months, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). Capital equipment imports are contributing to Pakistan's widening trade gap.
|Pakistan Textile Exports Boom. Source: Bloomberg|
All sectors of the textile industry from yarn to fabric to ready-made garments are experiencing double digit growth. Ready-made garments exports jumped 22.34% during July-Oct 2021, knitwear exports soared 35.45%, bed-wear posted positive growth of 21.30%, towel exports were up by 14.17%, cotton cloth rose 18.54%. Among primary commodities, cotton yarn exports surged by 71.39%, while yarn other than cotton by 114%. The export of made-up articles — excluding towels — rose by 11.55%, and tents, canvas and tarpaulin dipped by a massive 23.98% during the 4-month period.
|International Comparison of Textile Machinery Imports. Source: Business Recorder|
|History of Pakistan Textile Machinery Imports 2004-2021 in Millions of US$. Source: Ali Khizar|
The textile industry is very important for Pakistan's economy. It is a very large employer and contributes nearly 10% of GDP. Textile exports account for more than half of Pakistan's exports. Unfortunately, the textile industry has stagnated in the last 12 years. Textile boom is good news for the country's economy.
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