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Pakistan: Cargo Movement Returns to Normal, New Relief Package Expected to Revitalize Textile Industry

Cargo movement stalled in Pakistan early this month when freight forwarders and air cargo agents went on strike over a government imposed 8 percent tax on turnover.

The Pakistan International Freight Forwarders Association and Air Cargo Agents Association ended their strike just two days later when the finance minister formed a committee to evaluate and resolve the tax issue. In that time, however, the association’s members—which handle as much as 1,500 container loads each day—had already accrued a cargo pileup worth billions of rupees.

Workers were toiling to clear the pileup immediately, and business is expected to be conducted as usual provided the government keeps good on its word that it would likely withdraw the “mistakenly” implemented tax, Pakistan’s The News reported.

If the tax isn’t rescinded, the cargo movers will look to act again in order to be heard.

Pakistan’s textile industry has been struggling in the face of too-high costs, with some mills threatening to, or in fact, closing as they couldn’t afford to continue business.

But a new government package could turn things around for the ailing textile sector.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with textile industry associations to finalize a relieve package targeting the high cost of doing business, which, according to The Nation, has escalated 15 percent owed to the overvalued rupee and lack of effect from the reduction in oil prices.

APTMA has asked that the government remove additional taxes on export industries, extend the long-term finance scheme, provide a 5 percent export incentive to capture non-traditional markets and impose a special electricity tariff rate for the textile industry.

“A billion dollar investment for structural balancing, earning precious foreign exchange to get rid of the lending agencies, employment creation and consequent revenue generation would be the immediate socio-economic benefits of a textile industry on strong footing” All Pakistan Textile Mills Association chairman S.M. Tanveer told The Nation.