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Pakistan’s exports to decline by $3b owing to coronavirus: Razak Dawood

Pakistan’s exports to decline by $3b owing to coronavirus: Razak Dawood

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood on Wednesday said that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has called for deferring debt payments to one year, however, the commercial banks were not cooperating with the business community in this regard.

“Commercial banks want more guarantees on the matter,” he said while briefing the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Commerce and added that the government was in contact with the State bank in this regard.

The adviser said that the Bangladesh’s government has approved loans for businesses on two percent interest rate. “We are also mulling over recommendations in this regard,” he said.

Razak Dawood said that the textile sector was seeking permission to export masks but it would only be allowed after approval from the health ministry. “Currently we have banned export of surgical or N-95 masks as it could create shortage within the country,” he said.

He said that they have devised an export policy after consultation with the prime minister and Trade and Development Authority Pakistan (TDAP) is made responsible to pursue it.

Later talking to media after the meeting, Dawood said that as predicted from the IMF and World Bank, coronavirus could bring down country’s exports by US$3 billion.

“This month witnessed a downfall of 70 percent in exports as compared to previous year,” he said.

Earlier, the standing committee headed by PPP lawmaker Naveed Qamar suggested that since most of the country exports are from the textile sector therefore the country should begin transporting products to neighbouring Afghanistan.

The commerce ministry officials said that there was no ban on Pak-Afghan transit trade and food products in cold storage would soon be exported to the neighbouring war-torn country.

The committee also urged the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to clear 1900 Afghan-transit trade containers stranded at the port on war footing.