KARACHI: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday sought support from business people to overcome multiple challenges and asked exporters to come up with innovative and unique ideas to boost exports.
“Despite various challenges, we have very robust, very futuristic, and extremely hardworking entrepreneurs that have gradually built Pakistan’s export culture,” he said while speaking at a ceremony at a textile exhibition in Karachi.
He said that with genuine government support combined with the entrepreneurs’ extraordinary intellect and hard work, the provision of quality export goods to foreign customers would be ensured.
Welcoming foreign delegates, Mr Sharif said he was happy to learn that over 400 foreign delegates from 60 countries were visiting on the occasion showed Pakistan was a valuable destination for foreign guests, buyers and traders. He also appreciated the industrialists, exporters and experts who had contributed immensely to promoting Pakistan’s textile and leather exports.
He said Pakistan’s industry had now been transformed and converted to air-jet looms, ginning, spinning and weaving.
He said the commerce ministry team had done a commendable job by arranging this expo, which he hoped would help promote the country’s exports.
The premier said the textile sector accounted for 60 per cent of the country’s exports and employed 40pc of the labour force. “It is no doubt one of the largest sectors of Pakistan’s economy,” he added.
He pointed out that despite financial challenges and other difficulties, the government was committed to providing genuine support to all the export sectors, including textile, leather and sports, to help increase the country’s export volume. Later, in a meeting with business people and investors, he said Pakistan was faced with multiple challenges and the economy could only make progress in the presence of political stability.
He said the common people wanted health and education facilities, service delivery and resolution of everyday problems.
Inflation went high in the country and at the international level in the last year, he said, adding that inflation was also at elevated levels even when he formed the government a year ago. He pointed out that political instability was the cause of present difficult economic conditions. Mr Sharif said the previous government broke an agreement with the International Monetary Fund and then the country was devastated by the biggest climate-induced floods of the century.
The federal government, he said, spent Rs72bn through the Benazir Income Support Programme and Rs20bn through the National Disaster Management Authority to rehabilitee flood victims. The provincial governments also spent billions of rupees in this regard, he said. Another reason for economic hardship, he said, was the rise in global oil prices and the substantial increase in the oil import bill.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, gas prices were low in the international market, but the then government did not sign agreements for the purchase of gas, he said.
He lauded the business community for its efforts over the decades which led Pakistan to economic growth. Despite financial challenges, he vowed that the government was committed to providing genuine support to all the export sectors, including textile, leather and sports, to help boost the country’s exports.
Published in Dawn, May 27TH, 2023