PIAF urges commerce minister to finalise Trade Policy document


Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) has urged the Federal Commerce Minister to finalise Trade Policy document in the light of business community suggestions and proposals to make it more meaningful and acceptable to the stakeholders.

In a statement issued here Monday, the PIAF Chairman Engineer Sohail Lashari said that the new policy should be framed in a way that it is not only acceptable to all the stakeholders but it has certain achievable targets and realistic objectives as well. As all the times policies are made and announced without the due consultation of stakeholders and thus hardly any targets are achieved.

The PIAF Chairman said that the industrial production would remain sluggish and all the targets of Trade Policy would remain unfulfilled unless and until measures are not taken to expedite the industrial wheel by availability of cheaper electricity and continuous supply of gas to the industry.

He said that the government should concentrate on electricity production through hydel means as thermal electricity is not only very costly but also adding up to the import bill. He said that thermal power units could be a stop-gap arrangement and their adoption for a longer term would hit the economy hard.

While stressing the need for construction of Kalabagh Dam, he said that a lot of money had already been spent on the project and it is quite feasible but for unknown reasons, the present government is reluctant to start work on it.

He said that the upcoming trade policy must focus on promoting exports of non-traditional items as concentration on a few items and on few countries is also hitting the country’s economy hard.

Sohail Lashari said that auto-parts, handicrafts, precious stones, herbal medicines and fruits have huge potential in South East Asia, Far East and African region.

He said that textile sector makes more than 65 percent of total export earnings despite the fact that Pakistan produces excellent quality fruit & vegetables, Halal meat, auto-parts, confectionary items, sports goods and medical equipment etc.

He said that the business community was ready to supplement all government efforts aimed at enhancing the exports but without due consultation of real stakeholders even the easiest targets become harder to achieve.

The PIAF chairman said the delegations organized by the Trade Development Authority Pakistan (TDAP) should be prepared in close consultation with chambers of commerce and industry to ensure greater representation of private sector at international trading events such as trade fairs and single country exhibitions that play a vital role to enhance the exports.

He said embassies of neighbouring countries were playing an active role in promoting trade diplomacy all around the globe in close liaison with their trade supporting organizations. The commercial sections of these embassies were found proactive and the commercial envoys remain busy in studying the international market trends.

Lashari said the exports are an area where a little focus can revive the economy in shortest possible time, thus the government should appoint only those people as Commercial Attaches who have some business experience as well.

The PIAF chairman said that the government is being misguided by some black sheep in the FBR over the issue of import of used cars that had already caused huge dent to the economic activities in the country. He said that the decision to allow only three-year old vehicles is correct and the government should not deviate from it.