(March 18, 2019)
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said that economic indicators have been improving given to the policies of PTI government. Foreign remittances have crossed $ 14 billion in the first 8 months of the current fiscal year which is 12 percent higher than the corresponding period of previous year. Current account deficit has attained 29 months low level of $ 356 million which was $ 1280 million in the previous year. Trade deficit has reduced to $ 21.5 billion from $ 24.2 billion which shows decline of 11 percent.
The Veteran Business Leader told the business community that exports could not be increased as expected despite incentives being provided to this sector. Decrease of $ 2.7 billion in the trade deficit is majorly due to decrease in imports by $ 2.4 billion. Exports till now could not increase even by $ 2 billion, which is worth considering. Government need to find out new ways of increasing exports in consultation with the experts of export sector. Latest techniques should be used for the purpose in addition to search of new global markets, research and development, branding, marketing, ease of doing business, cheaper raw material, etc.
The Former Minister said that the average export growth of the regional countries during the last 25 years is 16 percent while Pakistan’s exports’ growth average is just 5 percent. Senate committee for commerce commented with reasons behind low growth rates of Pakistani exports as higher cost of doing business, higher energy rates, low productivity and expensive raw material. Pakistan is also lacking in the modern technology, which not only decrease productivity of manufacturing sector but also reduce their profitability. Cost of doing business in the country should be competitive in accordance to the regional countries for which practical measures are required.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that there is minimal foreign investment in the export oriented sector which is another big reason of slow export growth. In addition, government has not established any R&D institute to produce diversification and customization in accordance to global demand in the export products which has caused decline in exports over the years. Development of export sector is big challenge to the current government, for which it should take practical measures.