Partners: FCDO; Ministry of Commerce; SMEDA
Project Duration: August 2020- Jun 2021
Team: Vaqar Ahmed, Syed Shujaat Ahmed, Asif Javed, Adil Nakhoda, Muhammad Saad Qureshi
The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) and SDPI are collaborating closely to assess Covid-related loss to current, new, and potential exporters. Due to lack of time and resources there are no survey-based analyses by sector and we have varying estimates of such losses. We do know through recent econometric studies that a 1% decline in global demand is leading to a 1.2 – 1.5% decline in Pakistan’s overall exports. The pandemic outbreak and prolonged lock downs impact exports through: disruption in supply chains, border closure to nonessential trade, and limited market for exports due to fall in demand. Therefore, there is a need to arrive at a better understanding of transmission channels through which Covid-19, low global demand, and volatility in oil and energy markets will impact Pakistan’s exports of goods and services.
The responses designed by the public sector and central bank do well to cover some risks of private enterprises which could be covered so that employment loss can be minimized. However on-going debates argue that the design of such relief packages also need to take into account how these enterprises particularly small and medium sized exporters could protect and possibly win back their market share abroad as trade normalises. In view of the above mentioned, SDPI continues to motivate the MoC, Ministry of Industries and Production, and their affiliate departments, most notably Export Development Fund, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, and Pakistan Institute of Trade & Commerce to look in to designing a rapid response for small and medium sized exporters, working in both traditional and non-traditional export industries. We also see this as an opportunity to keep the design skewed to favour start-ups, innovative and creative enterprises.
Likewise, Ministry of National Food Supply and Research (MNFSR), provincial Food and Agriculture Departments as well as Agriculture Universities and Research Institutes are working with SDPI under the umbrella of National Food Supply Council established by the National Security Division, Government of Pakistan. The MNFSR has requested SDPI support in preparing a response plan to ensure food supply amid various scenarios of smart lockdown and SoPs for continuation of agri-operations to avoid any supply shocks or disruption in the food supply chain. SDPI has already prepared SoPs for harvesting of wheat with the provincial governments however to deliver an evidence-based action plan for ensuring food supply SDPI requires support in terms of data from the sub-national governments, district administrations, and other relevant agencies and resources in the agriculture ecosystem. The Minister for Food Supply has requested SDPI to host the secretariat and convene meetings of the Food Supply Advisory Committee, at least until the recovery phase of Covid-19. SDPI team is expected to extract actionable advice from each of these committee meetings Chaired by the Minister.
This proposed research, outreach, and policy engagement initiative takes cue from the above mentioned and aims to highlight the impact of Covid-19 on select export segments, and the agriculture sector. Our suggestion stresses upon the need for rapid information, improved evidenced (based on micro data) to frame policies which strengthen firm-level resilience and coping strategies.