ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday stressed upon the need for enhancing Pakistan’s exports to bring it at par with other countries of the region and world in the field in order to overcome the ever increasing financial woes of the country.
Speaking at a high-level meeting, attended by heads of chambers of commerce, representatives of All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) and exporter groups, the premier said that increasing exports is the only way traders can bring revenue to the ‘ heavily indebted’ country.
He assured the business community that the government is ready to help it in whatever way possible to increase the exports and can even subsidise some export commodities.
“But we cannot provide subsidy until and unless we do not get equal returns. Providing subsidies is no permanent cure for increasing exports and it sometimes causes heavy losses to the national kitty,” maintained Nawaz.
Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Federal Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan and Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi are attending the meeting.
While apprising the prime minister about their problem, traders cited the increasing production cost as the biggest hurdle in the increase of country’s exports.
The community leaders stated that impositions of a number of surcharges on electricity prices is the biggest factor in ever increasing production cost thereby leaving the country’s industrial products noncompetitive in the global market. They added that the continuous shortfall and resulting loadshedding has made the matter worse.
The Industrialist community was of the view that if their grievances are not addressed timely, more and more production houses will move to neighbouring Bangladesh and China, who offer more favourable work conditions.
After listening to the traders’ viewpoint, Nawaz Sharif announced that he has already directed the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to reduce power tariff by 2.19 rupees adding that a number of energy projects are under construction to overcome the energy crisis.
About the security situation in the economic hub, Karachi, the PM maintained that the ongoing operation against terrorists in the city has improved the situation bringing traders and industrialist back to the city.
“We Know the terrorists’ might has decreased and they are attacking journalists as their last efforts to survive,” he said.
The meeting was called to consult the trading community for measures to increase exports. The meeting will also consider various initiatives to improve quality and competitiveness of Pakistani exports and the issues exporters are facing including the energy crisis.
The problems and demands of the industrial sector are also being discussed.
A five-member ministerial committee on Thursday concluded talks with textile exporters on the package that would be taken up for approval by the prime minister.
The prime minister will also spend five hours with Aptma today to resolve problems relating to textile exports, Aptma leader Ejaz Gohar told media after the ministerial committee meeting.
This comes at a time when Pakistan’s merchandise exports fell 3.5 per cent last fiscal year and 17pc in July 2015 on a year-on-year basis.
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