July 12, 2017
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 Wednesday said that imperfections in the trade policy should be tackled on urgent basis as annual trade deficit has touched all time high level of 32.6 billion dollars.
Imports have also touched the mark of 53 billion dollars which has raised concerns about the sustainability of the forex reserves, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that trade deficit was 20.44 billion dollars when the current government came to power but the situation has worsened calling for urgent measures.
He said that foreign debt has also crossed the mark of 74 billion dollars while Rs.1400 billion have been allocated for debt servicing in the budget which may prove insufficient. This amount also indicates increased reliance on loans which is not good for the economy, he said.
The Business Leader observed that trade deficit for the outgoing year was 12 billion dollars over and above the projections while exports fell to 20.44 billion dollars against the target of 24.8 billion dollars due to incompetency of export managers as they were busy in futile meetings and exhibitions for good three years.
Despite GSP Plus status, the exports remained only 6.7 percent of the GDP despite certain incentives which call for the total implementation of Rs180 billion export package and immediate release of refunds.
He said that political uncertainty has also taken toll on the Pakistan Stock Exchange which saw steep fall which has troubled the local and foreign investors but SECP should not intervene at this point.
The government should take steps to boost exports and pay attention to the remittances to contain the situation, he demanded.