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Pakistan knitwear industry.

Pakistan Knitwear Industry

Pakistan Knitwear Industry is poised for victory and rapid progress in the international markets, which is no exaggeration. Due to new liberal industrial policy, incentives, and concessions announced by the present government, introduction of most modern techniques and rigid quality control on exports can achieve miracles and swing the entire balance of trade in Pakistan's favour at least in the value added knitwear industry.

During the past four decades Pakistan's Knitwear industry has made tremendous progress, thereby making an impressive monetary contribution. It is however, painful to mention here that the knitwear industry did not receive due recognition and encouragement by the government during the same period and faced various crisis. Starting with less than five units in 1949 the knitwear industry of Pakistan today consists of over 600 units. Sixty of the products are made by very small units located in Karachi, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Hyderabad, Lahore and Peshawar. But the major concentration of these units is in Karachi and Fiasalabad where some modern units have also been installed and made operational.

Due to low-investment involvement this industry is very easy to install, as the machines are also manufactured locally. It is also true that this industry is highly labour-intensive. It currently employs over hundred thousand workers both skilled and unskilled on more than 10,000 flat circular knitting machines. This industry also does not create any pollution problem or health hazards. In fact it is one of the neatest and cleanest industry by every environmental and health standards.

The export performance of the Pakistan knitwear industry is rapid and excellent in recent few years. It has exported products worth of millions which included Polo Shirts, T-Shirts, Sweat Shirts, Pull Overs, Sweaters, Jerseys, Mittens, Pyjama suits, Jogging suits, infantwears Cardigans, Nighties, Trunks, Pants, Shirts, Sport Shirts etc. etc.

It is also worth mentioning that the knitwear industry's amazing progress has been due to its solo efforts and without any governmental aid. It is definitely creditable that with its limited resources poor technology and shortage of skilled manpower its progress during the three and a half decades has been unique and unparallel in the list of textile made-up industry.

Though Pakistan still lags behind the modern technological advancements introduced in the world of knitting and knitwear in recent times, its industry still rallies a large number of buyers around the world. Unfortunately, the knitwear sector being the highest foreign exchange earner as compared to other ancillary textile industries has been neglected in the past. That is the reason that Pakistan today lags behind compared with other Asian countries like India, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, Singapore and Thailand whose exports are several folds higher than ours.

If we have to augment our exports in order to achieve the desired goals there are certain alternatives. Firstly, the government should provide financial assistance to the manufacturers from its own resources. Secondly, it should advise the financial institutions to advance loans to the manufacturers at a nominal mark-up. Thirdly, the government should also sign long-term agreements with countries who are ready to provide the required advance technology on easy credit terms.

Another important problem experienced by our knitwear industry is that our exporters pay very little attention to the quality production. In today's world, buyers are extremely quality conscious It is undoubtedly the responsibility of quality controllers and workers to check each and every piece thoroughly in order to eradicate the menace of ugly instance which subsequently becomes a major cause of blame on Pakistan as a sub-standard supplier.

It is, therefore, highly important to educate and train the Pakistani quality controllers and skilled and semi-skilled workers with the requirements of international buyers. There is therefore an urgent need to establish a full-fledged knitwear training institute imparting training in every course of knitwear garment both theoretically/practically, i.e. cutting, stitching, designing, quality control etc. etc. In this connection the Pakistan Knitwear & Sweaters Exporters Association has the proud privilege of taking, a lead which has already established an institute under the name of Pakistan Knitwear Institute. Although this institute has been set up in a rented premises on a small scale and is imparting training both theoretically/practically to the students but its inhouse facilities are quite inadequate to meet the shortage of skilled workers. If the government makes it a full-fledged institute it can produce highly skilled workers for the knitwear industry and can successfully meet the growing demands of workers.

The Pakistan Knitwear Institute is registered with the Sindh Board of Technical Education and in this context a proposal regarding its up-gradation has been submitted to the government. If approved this institute will play an important role in producing sufficient number of skilled workers. This will greatly help in diminishing the shortage of skilled workers for the knitwear industry. If our industry has enough trained force, it can also ensure in enhancing production of the knitted garments and can meet the challenges of international competition successfully. It is also imperative that the government forms a unique quota policy and eases the unnecessary curbs to make it more viable. Another important factor which needs government's attention is the rate of duty drawback. If the rates of duty drawback are enhanced it would be highly beneficial for the exporters, who are actively engaged in the export of knitwear garments from Pakistan.
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Author:Husain, Nasir
Publication:Economic Review
Article Type:Industry Overview
Date:Nov 1, 1991
Words:890
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