KARACHI: Caretaker Commerce Minister Gohar Ejaz has said a brand conference will be held in the next 90 days in which the top 100 brands will be invited to boost the confidence of foreign buyers and improve exports.

Addressing the members of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Friday, he said all the brands will be granted the status of state guests.

“We have also aimed to achieve an export target of $100 billion in the next five years,” he said, hoping that foreign direct investment will land in large volumes when exports will boost.

He looked unsatisfied in saying that the country still looks towards Dubai and Saudi Arabia for getting money.

He urged the industrialists to stop dreaming about Dubai and avoid converting their money into dollars and then sending them to Dubai. He said the caretaker government has virtually stopped the smuggling of goods and it would not allow dollar appreciation.

After the ban on imports, the cumulative volume of Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) has crossed $6bn from $4bn.

To save dollars, the government imposed restrictions on imports but it had boosted smuggling. He added that smuggling from Iran and Afghanistan had swelled $5bn.

He added that dollar smuggling had surged from the open market in connivance with the exchange companies.

While claiming surplus power in the country, he rejected the proposal of early closure of shops to save energy saying that the government would suffer due to reduced business hours.

He also asked the industrialists to stop relying on natural gas due to its shortage, while a power-wheeling policy had been introduced for the industries. He said the electricity tariff would come on par with the region if industrialists of Sindh and Punjab directly purchased power from the Thar-based power plants.

Published in Dawn, September 23th, 2023

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