ISLAMABAD: Following the lacklustre growth in exports during the first six months of the current fiscal year, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday directed the Commerce Division to set targets for enhancing exports in the next six months and determine the roles of various departments to assess their performance.
The premier further ordered that these targets should be reviewed on quarterly and half-yearly basis in order to ensure their achievements, according to an official statement issued after the meeting.
Prime minster said that enhancing exports is the top priority of his government. He reviewed the performance of exports and current incentives offered to the sector. The meeting was attended by PM’s Commerce Adviser Razak Dawood, Commerce Secretary Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera and other senior officials.
The premier was informed that the cash subsidy scheme had already been extended till June 2021, the export sector is insulated from increase in power and gas tariffs and shielded through export refinance and long-term finance facility from increase in policy rate.
Despite these incentives and huge drop in value of currency, exports in the first half of current fiscal year increased by a meager 3.21 per cent or $359 million. The premier wants to see real jump in exports to justify incentives extended to the sector.
The meeting took stock of policy, institutional, legal reforms and several other areas to assess the performance of the Commerce Division.
On the institutional reforms, the premier was informed that textile division has been merged with the Commerce Division. The premier was also informed that 20pc shares of State Life Insurance Corporation are being offered by the Privatisation Commission and the Trade Development Authority will be restructured to promote major sectors.
On the issues of policy, prime minister asked the Commerce Division that the strategy for implementing the cabinet-approved e-commerce policy and the National Tariff Policy should be finalised as soon as possible to benefit the business community.
Commerce Secretary Sukhera apprised the meeting of policy, institutional, tariff and legal reforms, correction of trade balance as well as the measures taken by the Commerce Division during the last six months to enhance exports, check imports and improve trade diplomacy.
The meeting was informed that the Tariff Policy Board has also been established as part of the National Tariff Policy, and the process of reforms under the National Tariff Commission has been initiated.
About the legal reforms, the meeting was apprised that in order to protect Pakistani products, legislation process for introducing a Geographical Indexation Law has been initiated, and after the approval from cabinet, the proposed law was referred to the relevant sub-committee.
The meeting was informed that for the promotion of Pakistani products and enhancing exports, the country participated in around 150 international trade fairs and exhibitions during the last few months.
Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2020