Confusion emerges on June export data

Updated 12 Jul 2020

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Chief Collector Enforcement Karachi Saifuddin Junejo, who oversees exports from the country at Karachi ports, said he will confirm the figures on Monday. — Reuters/File
Chief Collector Enforcement Karachi Saifuddin Junejo, who oversees exports from the country at Karachi ports, said he will confirm the figures on Monday. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: Confusion prevails over official export statistics for June as three different figures have emerged in a week’s time.

“Three institutions compiled three different numbers from a single source” a senior official told Dawn.

Official documents show that three institutions are using export data of the Pakistan Revenue Automation Ltd — a subsidiary of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

On July 2, commerce ministry released exports figure of $1.609 billion for the month of June as against $1.717bn over the corresponding month last year, reflecting a decline of 6.3 per cent.

The next day, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics said exports during the month were $1.592bn against $1.703bn last year, showing a decline of 6.52pc.

Three different figures released by govt

Moreover, data compiled on the basis of goods declarations filed for June showed exports at $1.791bn in June against $1.706bn over the last year, showing a growth of 4.98pc.

Adviser to PM on Commerce Razak Daw­ood confirmed with Dawn that the figures released on July 2 were accurate. However, he said figures are usually updated. He said exports are expected to return to their pre-Covid 19 levels in the coming months.

Chief Collector Enforcement Karachi Saifuddin Junejo, who oversees exports from the country at Karachi ports, said he will confirm the figures on Monday. He also showed his ignorance about the compilation of data regarding containers, and its value for the month of June.

Junejo said that this data might be compiled at the FBR or commerce ministry. The government has created export collectorates — Port Qasim and Karachi to facilitate exports from the country round the clock and provide accurate data to the government for policy formulation.

A report produced by the custom authorities — who compile export data from good declaration forms — showed that cargo handling at Karachi port posted a growth of 7.23pc in June as 49,953 export containers were shipped this year as against 46,583 of last year.

The growth in an export shipment at the Karachi Customs House was noted at 11.1pc while the growth of 2.98pc was observed in shipment from Port Qasim in June from a year ago.

The reasons provided for the growth is that containers were cleared speedily in June to meet the international orders owing to availability of shipping lines and resumption of orders that had been deferred by international buyers.

In addition to the land and sea routes, substantial growth was noted in the export cargo dispatched via air freight. This growth is despite the fact that mango exports declined substantially.

The growth was also seen in export value through air freight unit (AFU). The figures show that exports through AFU stood at $327.7 million in June as against $184.734m over the last year, showing an increase of 77.39pc.

Data compiled by the Pakistan Customs showed total export containers shipped between Mar 22 till June 30 fell to 134,494 from 186,290 in the same period last fiscal year, showing a decline of 27.8pc.

Karachi ports, which handle around 76pc of the country’s export cargo, have seen containers piling up at ports between March 22 to May 31 mainly due to order cancellations and non-availability of ships.

In May, total export containers shipped stood at 41,427 this year as against 65,286 of last year, indicating a growth of 36.54pc. However, this backlog was cleared in the month of June.

A senior customs official told Dawn that the containers piled up at ports in the previous months were mostly cleared in June. The one temptation for exporters was to get an early rebate on the cargo shipment.

Exports posted a growth of over 14pc in June when compared with the export figures of the previous month. It clearly shows that export earnings grew in June.

Dawood told Dawn that he was expecting growth in export earnings in the month of July. “We are optimistic that exporters will receive orders in the coming months owing to easing in lockdown in international markets”, he said.

Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMA) Chief Coordinator Jawed Bilwani told Dawn that exports have seen a rising trend in June. He said that export proceeds will further improve in the coming months.

Retailers across the world have shut down their businesses, only a few are honoring their import commitments with local manufacturers.

In addition, trade through western borders — Chaman and Torkham — to Afgha­nistan onward to the Central Asian States has also declined significantly. The government has recently allowed exports to Afghanistan.

Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2020