October 17, 2016
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain has expressed concern over widening trade deficit on the back of falling exports and increasing imports.
Government should take steps to contain fall in exports and reduce imports of non-essential items otherwise it will have to borrow or introduce mini budgets, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that in the first three months of the current fiscal year the trade deficit widened 29.21 percent to $7.06 billion while exports fell 8.9 percent to $ 4.68 billion. The imports rose 10.7 percent to $ 10.61billion during the 3 months over the corresponding period which is disturbing.
The government should immediately take steps to boost exports and reduce imports otherwise it will have to borrow from international lenders or introduce mini budgets to keep deficit in the limit agreed with the IMF, he demanded.
The business leader said that slashing Public Sector Development Programme is also an option but it will have very negative impact on the population which is already reeling under multiple problems. He told there are new of curtailing budget of PSDP by 420bn.
It is high time the government came up with incentives for the export sector after bringing meaningful reforms and release export refunds worth hundreds of billions of rupees which has broken the back of many exporters.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that under a three-year strategic trade policy and restructuring of TDAP, the government set an annual export target of $35bn by 2018. Yet exports are falling in terms of value as well as volume while the ministry of commerce has yet to receive any funds from the ministry of finance to take steps that can stop the decline in exports.