The Board of Commerce Ministry’s Export Development Fund (EDF) on Monday approved 16 projects worth Rs 1.3 billion.
The projects include setting up of Pakistan Readymade Garments Technical Institute at Sialkot with Rs 125 million funding.”The Board of Administrators has approved 16 key projects worth Rs 1.3 billion despite the fact that total resources with the EDF secretariat are merely a few million. Now, the Commerce Ministry has to approach the Finance Ministry to seek more funds for the approved projects,” said one of the participants.
Some of the projects approved by the EDF Board of Administrators are as follows: (i) ex-post facto approval for release of Rs 0.5 million to Women Chamber Commerce & Industry, Quetta on the directives of Prime Minister; (ii) ex-post facto approval for re-hiring of M/s DLA Piper UK for another two years to assist the Government of Pakistan (GoP) in trade negotiations with the European Union (EU) and sanction of 53.250 million for this purpose; (iii) grant of additional amount of Rs 64 million; (iv) grant of additional amount of Rs 64 million for setting up of vapor heart treatment plant for mangoes in Karachi in TDAP; (v) grant of funds to Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry for construction of its headquarters building at Islamabad (agreed in principle); (vi) setting up of export training and research centre at Jhang by Jhang Chamber of Commerce & Industry; (vii) setting up of technical development centres in urban areas in Mardan by Mardan Chamber for Commerce & Industry; (viii) setting up of product development Hub at Islamabad by Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry; (ix) grant of Rs 17 million to Surgical Instrument Manufacturers Association of Pakistan, Sialkot for purchase of laser marketing and laser welding machines for the surgical industry; and (x) grant of funds for National Institute of Leather Technology, Karachi, etc. Former Chairman and Chief Co-ordinator, Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association, Ijaz Khokar who also attended the meeting told Business Recorder that with the setting up of Pakistan Readymade Garments Technical Training Institute in Sialkot in two years, export volume of readymade garments from Sialkot will increase to $700 million per annum from existing exports of $300-350 million.
In reply to a question, Ijaz Khokar said that readymade garments business from China is being diverted to Pakistan but local industry is not accepting orders because of shortage of skilled labour. Answering another question, he said presently Pakistan is second largest exporter after China in export of Marshal Arts’ uniforms industry and Sialkot is hub of this industry.
“We are seeing massive growth in exports of martial arts uniform industry as input cost of China is higher than Pakistan,” he added. According to him after the institute is established, Sialkot will be able to train semi-skilled workforce and medium management.
Khokar also appreciated the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Textile which unanimously approved the setting up of the institute during its visit to Sialkot Chamber of Commerce & and Industry. Chairman Prgmea, North Zone, Farooq Mayar also pleaded the case of the institute.
Acting Secretary Commerce, Munir Qureshi, Additional Secretary Fazal Abbas Maken, Joint Secretary (Admin), Abdul Kabir Kazi attended the meeting. Representatives of FPCCI, different chambers and associations pleaded their cases in the meeting. – Brecorder