KARACHI: Dwindling exports have widened the trade gap to a record level of 42.57 per cent as July to March exports dipped by 3.03 per cent at $17.189 billion and imports rose by 14.71 per cent at $33.285 billion.
According to provisional figures of external trade issued by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), country’s balance of trade widened to $16.095 billion due to rapidly falling exports.
It is alarming that decline in exports has been witnessed in country’s traditional items, such as value-added textiles, rice, leather and leather garments.
Industry leaders blame government policies for crippling exports by creating an acute shortage in utilities, such as power, gas and water to industrial sectors of the country.
“It is pathetic that currently most of the ministries, particularly Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Textile Industry, are not functioning properly and they lack interest in issues confronting export trade,” lamented chairman, Pakistan Apparel Forum (PAF), M Jawed Bilwani.
No wonder why country’s exports are rapidly falling, because if the industry is not being given power and gas on priority basis and has to face worst kind of law and order situation in the country’s history, the results are obvious, he observed.
Naqi Bari, former chairman of Pakistan Hosiery Manufac-turers Association (PHMA), said when decisions are not taken on merit and when politically motivated plans are imposed, results would be obvious.
He said at a time where there was an acute shortage of gas, the government is laying pipeline across the country to provide gas to villages.
Between July and March, textile exports declined by 9.40 per cent at $9.019 billion over the corresponding period last year as exports stood at $9.955 billion.
Textile exports in March 2012 were lesser by 21.72 per cent. Amongst value-added textile, knitwear exports were down by 12.41 per cent at 1.469 billion as against $1.678 billion last year.
Similarly, bedwear exports declined by 12.74 per cent at $1.311 billion compared to $1.502 billion exports in the same period last year.
Towel exports were lesser by 7.82 per cent at $493 million as against $534 million recorded in the corresponding period last year.
Readymade garments also declined by 2 per cent at $1.203 billion.
Exports of food items were lower by 5.06 per cent at $2.976 billion during July-March 2011-2012 period compared to $3.135 billion in the corresponding period last year. Basmati rice exports alone declined by 17.79 per cent at $574 million as against $698 million exported in the same period last fiscal year.
Another major export sector, leather and leather goods declined by 3.07 per cent at $400 million from $413 million achieved in the corresponding period last year.
Export of leather garments fell of 15.32pc at $265m from $313m last year. All major export items maintained do-wnslide during March 2012, thereby further widening the balance of trade of the country.