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Need to arrest falling exports

According to a senior official of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association,the overall textile exports continue to present a dismal look in the middle of the current fiscal year. As the import billis increasing, the trade deficit has swollen to $28.3 billion, creating an alarming situation for the government to streamline its accounts. The government is paying full attention to enhance revenue collections without giving any incentive to the production sector. The cost of doing business could not be brought down to a satisfactory level, energy crisis still persists and a new industrial policy is nowhere in sight. The government has less than two years to prove its mettle. In the absence of a strong trade and investment policy, the ratio of foreign direct investment has fallen to a dangerous level and the hostile countries on east and west sides are taking all possible steps to malign Pakistan. The policymakers will have to revise and revisit their policies to ascertain the causes of falling exports under the present government. During the tenure of the previous Pakistan People’s Party government, the exports had crossed $25 billion mark, but the country has been losing over 20 percent of its exports per year since the present government took over in 2013.

The officials are not tired of making tall claims and thumping their chests on the reports issued by foreign donor agencies. According to experts, foreign financial institutions should not trusted on the whole as they have to sell their money at expensive markup rates. The first thing first is that, we have to keep our own house in order. The industrial sector is under performing, the Pakistani commercial attachésare allegedly involved in dereliction of duties and the government has failed to promote soft image of the country. A combination of negative factors is drastically affecting the national economy. The APTMA official correctly pointed out some pressing issues which needed to be carefully listened to and addressed. The government should learn to watch the economy through the eyes of the businessmen and not through eyes of the officials who are on its payroll. The Chinese investment is pouring in and it is time the government should wake up and persuade the investors from other countries to tap business and industrial opportunities in Pakistan. It is never too late to step in the right direction. It is necessary to lower the cost of production to allow the Pakistani products compete in the international market.

On the political front, it is the right of opposition parties to criticize wrong policies of the government, but should not cross their limits as the loss to the economy is the loss to the nation.

2017-01-03
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