Garment manufacturing is a major growing sub-sector of the textile value chain. It consumes the majority of the workforce in Pakistan’s textile and garment industry and has been contributing towards the high growth-rate in exports.

In the garment sector, Pakistan’s productivity is estimated to be only 37% of the benchmark established by China. Compared to this, India’s garment sector productivity is better, at 46%. For Pakistan, raising productivity by improving production process efficiency is key to reap benefits after the Multi-Fibre Agreement was abolished. If Pakistan is able to increase its productivity in textiles and clothing by 60% and reach China’s productivity level, the gain would likely be over US$ 1 billion per year.

Keeping in view the emerging trends in the global market, there is a huge potential for Pakistan’s garment sector. However, to be competitive in the global market after the removal of the ‘quota regime’ in January 2005, it is imperative to have efficient and cost effective production systems with minimum wastages to attract buyers. The TUSDEC need assessment which included discussions/interviews with the key garment exporters clearly revealed the need for urgent reforms in the textile industry and specially in garment manufacturing and exporting as this is the most value added sector. To cope with this dire need, it was proposed to hire foreign experts on long term basis to upgrade the knowledge and skills of the workers employed in the garment industry.

The project “Technical Upgradation of Garment Industry – Hiring of Foreign Experts on Long Term Basis” aim was to help make the major 12 garment exporters more competitive in world markets so that they can be the catalysts to enhance the productivity of Pakistan’s garment industry. This would make the garment industry cost effective and thereby sustain and improve its market share in the global economy. Foreign experts were engaged on a long-term basis to provide required knowledge and transfer technical & specialized skills in the fields of sewing, dyeing & finishing, printing and machine maintenance.

24 foreign experts were hired to provide training in the above mentioned fields to 12 beneficiary companies. These experts transferred knowledge to a pool of 96 local trainees for industry – wide benefits. The project received tremendous appreciation from the Garment Sector for its resultant efficacy. Beneficiaries reported significant productivity enhancements, quality improvements, cost and wastage control & process efficiencies. The competitiveness and proficiency of subject workers has also been reported to be recuperated through the intervention of foreign experts.