Chairman of National Business Group of FPCCI, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said cotton sector if ignored will inflict more harm on the economy than coronavirus, state-run corporations and circular debt.
The area under cotton cultivation and its production is declining for a decade. Now, the cotton output has reached the lowest mark of 5.5 million bales, creating new challenges.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the continued fall of cotton had inflicted a loss of around 36 billion dollars over the past decade. It has increased import bill, stoked unemployment and taken a toll on the rural communities.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that cotton collapse resulted in the direct losses of two billion dollars and indirect losses of eight billion dollars per annum.
The country suffers from losses of 700 million dollars on cottonseed oil while the losses in the cottonseed cake are almost USD1.5 billion.
Pakistan used to have almost 84 million tonnes of cottonwood stick, and crop reduction is causing deforestation, which must be noticed.
The business leader said that the cotton crisis had demanded the whole chain—from planter to the value-added sector. In contrast, sixty percent of cotton ginning factories have been closed, leaving millions unemployed.
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan should note the situation and establish a cotton control board so that situation could be improved.
The board should supervise the whole process from cotton sowing to value-addition including proper use of certified seeds, urea, pesticides, water, picking, ginning, spinning etc. to properly cater to the interests of all the stakeholders.
No other crop should be allowed in the cotton belt, ginners should have a uniform and concessionary power tariff and support price for cotton should be announced without any delay.
He said that authorities should take Pakistan Cotton Ginners Association (PCGA) into confidence to improve the overall situation.