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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meets exporters and heads of chambers of commerce and industries on Friday.—INP
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meets exporters and heads of chambers of commerce and industries on Friday.—INP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will soon announce a package to boost the country’s exports, Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan told Dawn on Friday.

However, Dastagir did not disclose an exact date for the announcement as the prime minister doesn’t make key decisions without consulting Finance Minister Ishaq Dar who is on a visit to the United States.

Chairing a meeting at the Prime Minister Office with the heads of chambers of commerce and industries and exporters, Sharif said a strategy would be chalked out in light of the recommendations of the businessmen and exporters.

Dastagir said the two-day meetings of exporters associations with economy ministers and later with the prime minister signalled a “paradigm shift in government’s approach towards exports”.

He said the five-hour-long meeting with the premier on Friday would form the basis of a “whole-of-government” exports promotion package as well as the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2015-18 due to be announced shortly by the Ministry of Commerce.

Exporters have asked the government to clear their refunds, devise a mechanism to avoid their delayed payments and allow the rupee to come to a realistic market value. Other countries in the region have considerably devalued currencies, they argued.

The textile sector, among other things, is seeking removal of extra taxes, competitive energy prices as compared to the region, electricity at nine US cents per unit and imposition of duties on semi-finished textile products, especially from India and China.

The light engineering segment and the agricultural sector asked the government to support them in seeking international certifications and subsidy for entering into new markets.

“A rise in exports will help the government boost its revenues and invest in the development of the country,” the prime minister said. Pakistan’s exports are stagnant whereas other regional countries have moved far ahead, he added.

The premier elaborated that the government was aware of a global economic slowdown and falling commodity prices. But even in this challenging environment, the government and business houses must adopt innovative strategies to increase exports, he added.

“Providing subsidy to different sectors of the economy needs resources, and resources are generated by robust economic activity,” he said, adding that subsidy or relief packages, if opted as a policy measure, must produce economic returns to boost investment and business activity.

He advised the business community to conceive forward planning in view of the prospects arising out of the mega regional development initiatives like China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Turk­men­istan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Pipeline.

These mega projects, coupled with development of infrastructure in the form of motorways and upgradation of Gwadar port, would open new avenues of economic activities which can be capitalised by Pakistan’s business community, he added.

Speaking on behalf of the business community, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry President Mian Adrees assured the prime minister of full cooperation from the industrial and trade houses.

The business representatives gave suggestions and identified various factors which are hindering business ventures and proposed measures for raising investors’ confidence, he added.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2015

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Comments (9) Closed

Import Sep 12, 2015 12:48pm

Just give subsidies to Chinese companies why waste funds

Farooq Ali Sep 12, 2015 12:53pm

PM should meet leading scientists, experts of technology innovation, inventors and management gurus to take bold steps and fix fast wheels to run our sluggish industry in order to compete with countries like china, india and others, these owners of industrial units gathered around him know only the subject of finance and how to make quick money..

AW Sep 12, 2015 02:46pm

Meeting with a delegation of business leaders is a good start. Government will need to do a lot in order to create a business friendly environment in the country in order to encourage private sector domestic and foreign investment for expansion of the economy using free market methodologies. Some of the critical steps include: getting rid of NOCs, licenses and SRO regimens which shall drastically reduce government controls and corruption; rationalization of sales tax to no more than 5%; introduction of flat tax on individual and corporate incomes or no more than 15%; elimination of custom duties and related charges on raw materials etc. The government should stop interfering and controlling prices of commodities and let the free market forces determine the price based on supply and demand which shall create healthy competition and force continued modernization of our industrial base making it viable in terms of increased exports as well as for maximization of benefits to the consumers

Usman Sep 12, 2015 03:26pm

despite the success, we should not rest on our laurels. Always look for ways to improve socio-economic condition of the country. Well done to NS and RS.

Dr.Arshad Sep 12, 2015 05:16pm

Good move! Pakistan with the population of 180 million must at least export 200 billion dollars worth of goods and services.Current figure of 24 billion dollars is enough to put us to shame.

Azmeen Sep 12, 2015 06:45pm

A good move. A meeting with professionals and scientists to revamp & innovate our industry must be held to get feedback before finalizing any package & policy. Don't depend on bureaucrats' feedback only,

Faruk Sep 13, 2015 01:58am

Sir PM Nawaz Saab, first law and order in country than investment Export comes afterwords. Your MNA's MPA's running Police station, and there should NO subsidy.

Muzaffar Ali Sep 13, 2015 06:36am

Nearly 7 million students are expected to graduate from China’s institutions of higher education this year, up from less than a million in 1999.

I don't have comparable figures for Pakistan but the number could not be more than a few thousands considering the very few number of world class Universities we have.

Pakistan needs to start focusing on raising the quantity and quality of education.

Khara aur karwa such Sep 13, 2015 10:17pm

Government officials should stop seeing in every move an opportunity to earn illegally. For that to happen, the political government will have to set an example of self righteousness and moral integrity with zero tolerance for corruption.