The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) has said that declining exports and deteriorating remittances of the country are alarming for the government.
Chairing the business advisory meeting on Wednesday, FPCCI Vice President Riaz Khattak said Pakistan’s forex reserves are under pressure as exports and remittances continue to dwindle while imports are growing. He said the country’s exports fell by seven per cent in July as compared to the exports of July last year.
He said this situation demands extra attention to the dwindling export sector which holds a pivotal position, adding that despite incentives given to exporters in the budget, the performance of inept export managers of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) was visible.
Similarly among the many factors responsible for our dismal exports, decades of protectionist policies have rendered local industry uncompetitive and inefficient. A protectionist policy works if it protects an infant industry; but protecting mature industries simply does not make sense and is not sustainable.
Even with infant industries, there should be solid plans to develop them, invest in their infrastructure and assist them by driving innovation like in the sectors of horticulture and minerals, he added.
“We realise that India has used protectionist policies very effectively and now their exports are nearly $300 billion. Their exports were just $23 billion two decades ago, and have grown 15% per annum on average,” Khattak said.
On the issue of shifting the office of the TDAP, Riaz Khattak said the early shifting of the TDAP’s head office to Islamabad is the need of the day, as the business community belonging to the other provinces has to face great difficulties while visiting the TDAP head office. Only its Regional Office in Karachi would be sufficient.
He added that the businessmen of Punjab, KP and Gilgit Baltistan do not have an easy access to TDAP head office in Karachi, as they have been facing difficulties in getting their cases cleared for participating in the international trade fairs and exhibitions and in finding out amicable solutions to their business problems in this regard.
FPCCI VP seconded the government’s proposal of shifting the TDAP’s head office from Karachi to Islamabad to facilitate the business community, to keep a proper check on the Authority and to execute the trade policies in a timely manner on the lines of the PM’s vision.
He rejected the notion by some circles that this decision would serve as a catalyst for a further drop in exports.