ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood has claimed that Pakistan’s monthly exports have crossed the two billion dollars mark for seven consecutive months for the first time over a decade.

“Alhamdulillah (Thanks God), Pakistan’s export for April 2021 stood at USD 2.191 billion. This is the first time since 2011 that our monthly exports have crossed the 2-billion mark for seven consecutive months,” writes Mr Dawood on his official social media account on Twitter on Sunday.

The adviser said that “the export growth of 129 per cent over April 2020 cannot be taken into account due to lockdown last year”.

He said exports for July-April 2021 grew by 13 per cent to $20.879 billion as compared to $18.408 billion during the same period last year.

Dawood pays tribute to exporters

“Our exporters deserve full credit for making this possible under testing global conditions,” said the adviser.

In March, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) released the data according to which the country’s exports of textile and clothing had rebounded mainly due to value-added sectors and posted a growth of 30.4 per cent from a year ago.

The export value of these sectors edged up to $1.355bn in March from $1.039bn over the corresponding month of last year. Growth in exports of value-added sectors contributed to an increase in overall exports from the sectors, said the PBS data.

In February, textile and clothing exports had shrunk 3.12pc on a year-on-year basis. The July-March figures showed that growth in textile and clothing exports came from the value-added sector. The value of exports reached $11.35bn in the July-March period this year as against $10.41bn over the corresponding months of last year, showing a growth of 9.06pc.

The government has already abolished duty and taxes on industrial raw materials and has been paying off past pending refunds to exporters. The devaluation of the rupee and lower interest rate accelerated industrial growth, especially in the export-oriented industries.

According to the PBS data, the export of cotton yarn posted growth of 39pc in March from a year ago, followed by cotton cloth 8.7pc, and cotton carded 100pc. The export of yarn other than cotton yarn also recorded a growth of 56.87pc during the month under review.

In the non-value-added sectors, exports of tents, canvas dipped 34.09pc followed by raw cotton by 100pc. However, the export of art silk increased by 32.72pc, made-up articles excluding towels, bedwear 12.48pc and other textile products 41.03pc during the month under review.

The overall exports in March were up by 30.62pc to $2.36bn in March 2021 against $1.81bn over the corresponding month last year.

Between July and March, the overall exports reached $18.68bn as against $17.44bn over the corresponding months of last year, indicating a growth of 7.13pc.

According to the latest data of the State Bank of Pakistan, the country’s exports to its nine regional countries plunged over 5.7 per cent in the nine months of the current fiscal year due to the impact of Covid-19.

The country’s exports to these countries — Afghanistan, China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Iran, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives — account for a small amount of $2.788bn, which is just 14.91pc of Pakistan’s total global exports of $18.688bn in 9MFY21.

China tops the list of countries in terms of Pakistan’s exports to its neighbours, leaving other populous countries India and Bangladesh behind. Pakistan carries out its border trade with the farther neighbour Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Maldives via sea only.

On the other hand, the country’s trade deficit with the region narrowed slightly during the period under review as imports from these countries also dipped.

Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2021

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