LAHORE, Sept 21: The powerful All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) is once again facing the threat of a possible split, as smaller spinners from across the country are said to be trying to set up a new, separate body called All Pakistan Single Mills Association (APSMA) for safeguarding their rights, sources at the association told Dawn on Thursday.
â€œMore than 50 spinners owning single mills with up to 25,000 spindles or more have already given their consent for creating a separate body for protecting their rights,â€ a spinner, who has served on the Aptmaâ€™s managing committee, from the Punjab capital said on the condition of anonymity.
Another spinner, who also asked not to be named, said the â€œdissidentsâ€ had unanimously decided to quit Aptma and form a new body because they were not satisfied with the associationâ€™s present leadership, which they alleged, worked only for the protection of the business interests of bigger mills and groups instead of the entire industry.He said the disgruntled spinners were drafting a submission to be put forward to the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) for seeking its approval in the form of an NOC (no objection certificate) for the proposed body.
â€œUnder the countryâ€™s existing laws, we need to obtain an NOC from the FPCCI before moving ahead with our plan for the establishment of the proposed association, and approaching the ministry of commerce for initiating the formal process of creating the new body,â€ he said, admitting that the â€œdissidents would have to cross many bridges before they could achieve their goal.â€
However, he was confident that â€œwe would successfully manage to convince the federation and the commerce ministry on the need for the proposed bodyâ€. He claimed that the dissidents, who do not want to identify at this stage, had already mustered the support of over 37 spinners from Punjab, some 15 from Sindh and four from the NWFP for the proposed body.
He said the â€œdifficultâ€ decision to set up a new body had been taken by the dissidents because the ruling Aptma leadership had miserably failed in taking up the â€œrealâ€ issues being confronted by the smaller spinners with the government and getting them resolved.
â€œNobody among the Aptma leaders has so far taken up the issue of gas price increase and its suspension to the mills during winter with the force with which it should have been raised. The issue is of critical importance for the smaller spinners because the hike in the gas rates increases their cost of production and makes them uncompetitive in the world markets. Similarly, we have been demanding that the government should allow trade with India via Wagah. If this inland route is opened for trade between the two countries, we shall be able to import cotton from there, which will save us time as well as an expense of Rs200 per maund, and also export our yarn to them. None of these two issues have ever been agitated with the government in spite of the fact that these are of critical importance for the spinners with 25,000-50,000 spindles who need to save every paisa to hold down their production cost,â€ he said.
Aptma went through a crisis of sorts only a few years ago when leading textile millers, including Tariq Saeed Saigol and Mian Mohammad Mansha, threatened to quit the association if it continued to treat the textile millers who had chosen to consolidate their production and increased their capacity under one roof and name on a par with the business groups that had opted for increasing the number of their mills instead of consolidating their production. The dissidents at that time wanted that the associationâ€™s articles of association were amended in such a way that each member was given voting powers according to the number of his or her spindles and not number of mills.
The newly-elected officials of Aptma could not be reached for their comments despite best efforts. However, a leading spinner and exporter dismissed the report of the possible split in the association out of hand, saying there was not much substance to the â€œclaimsâ€ being made by a handful of people.
He said the threat of forming a separate association by splitting Aptma was nothing more than â€œwishful thinkingâ€ of a few people. He said Aptma had always raised collective issues confronting the textile industry.
â€œThose who informed of you of their grievances against Aptma are either misled by some or are not aware of the situation. Aptma has very forcefully raised the issue of gas price increase, as it has hit the entire textile industry and not the smaller mills alone. However, the final decision has to be taken by the government and not the Aptma officials. We have recently sent a letter to the prime minister and drew his kind attention to the issues of more serious and urgent nature facing the industry. We are hoping that the government would resolve those issues on a priority basis. If that happens it will benefit the entire spinning sector and not a few big spinners as claimed by the few elements who cannot be pleased whatever may do for them,â€ he said.
By: Nasir Jamal,Â http://dawn.com/2006/09/22/ebr6.htm
Development of weaving industry urged
ISLAMABAD, Sept 21: Federal Textile Minister Mushtaq Ali Cheema on Thursday urged the spinning sector to establish weaving industry for value addition in their products for which government would encourage them in finance arrangement.He was talking to a delegation of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) led by its vice-chairman Shafqat Ellahi Sheikh.
An official announcement said that the minister informed the delegation that the government was working to prepare a strategy for value addition in textile industry to increase exports of the country.
Mr Cheema said that presently annual yarn export stood at just $1.5 billion and efforts were being made to boost the volume for which the government was offering incentives including financing at low mark-up rates.
The minister said the export of yarn and grey cloth should be increased for which the spinning industry should play its role. â€œThe government is fully aware of the problems of this industry, which has 47pc share in textile sector, and measures were being taken to resolve them.
â€œWe are facing great challenges in the world market for which joint efforts are needed and the private sector should cooperate with the government in the national interest, he said.
The delegation demanded similar incentives for weaving and spinning industry as were granted to export-oriented sector.
The minister assured the delegation that his ministry would soon submit recommendations to the prime minister for approval regarding solving problems of spinning and weaving industry.