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Tahir Amin

Business Recorder

Published Date: Mar 7, 2016

Exports have declined due to low investment and unfriendly policies, says SDPI’s ED

The country ‘s exports witnessed a decline due to the unfriendly-exports policies and least priority of the incumbent government, besides low investment.
This was stated by Dr Abid Qayyum Sulehri, Executive Director Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) while speaking as a guest in ‘Paisa Bolta Hai ‘of Aaj News with Anjum Ibrahim here on Sunday.
“The government current policies do not seem to be export friendly nor does it seem that exports are the priority of the government. These two major components when meet with other, make the situations disastrous”, said Sulehri, adding it is correct to some extent that commodities prices declined in International Market, which has also affected exports. Economic policies, structure and history are not in exports friendly mode, he added.
ED SDPI said that one of the related factors for decline in exports is non-inflow of investment in the country. Even the local investors are not ready to invest in the country. It is clear from the World Economic Forum and World Bank Ease of doing business, competitiveness indicators that a consistent decline has been registered in investment inflow in 2016 as compared to 2015 and the reason is lack of trust of the investors. Investors are frightened or not seeing investment friendly-policies in term of economic policies, security and taxation policies.
He further said that relevant ministers should be more careful while issuing statements about exports. According to a Pakistani exporter when Petroleum minister stated that industry would not get gas in winter season, an Indian competitor sent those web links to importers in Belgium while saying that Pakistan would not produce anything in next six months and his Leather Garments/Jackets orders were cancelled and went to India.
Sulehri said that local brands need to be established for enhancing exports for which intellectual property rights needs to be strengthened.
Regarding the delay in trade policy, he said that Commerce Ministry wanted that trade related decision may be taken by them. The trade policy has been vetted from Finance Ministry, however Commerce Ministry needs lobbying from all stakeholders to build ownership.
He said that industry should control quality and quantity and become innovative to enhance exports.
Chairman Pakistan Apparel Forum, Javed Balvani said that State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) says that exports declined by 11 percent while the Federal Bureau of Statistics says it declined by 14.4 percent which means that data is not being rationalised or available. He further said that it is electronic age, but exports data is being provided with delay.
Balvani said that the Textile Minister is not being appointed for last several months and is being run without a minister, which is generating more than 55 percent exports of the country.
He said that Khurram Dastagir as a minister is helpless and even could not give Trade Policy for the last seven months. Commerce Minister gives statements but it is worthless as everything if it is rebate, refunds, power/gas rates or even opening of a school, all are being controlled by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. Though he is working hard but a person with so many responsibilities cannot perform up to the mark, Balvani added.
He said in 1990, Pakistan exports were around $4.9 billion against India $6.6 billion while Bangladesh $1.6 billion; however in 2015 Pakistan exports reached $24 billion, Bangladesh $27 billion while India $310 billion. What is happening in the country, he questioned.
He said the government should make utilities prices comparable to other SAARC competitors and give priority to the export sectors. Further government should introduce zero -rating facility for exporters to increase country exports. Source: