The ‘All Pakistan Business Forum’ (APBF) has expressed its concerns over a worrisome economic trend as; there has been a reduction of 2 Billion Dollars in the value of Pakistani exports, over the past 2.5 years. Pakistan’s merchandise exports have been falling consistently, as per the official data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). Especially, in the July to January period of the fiscal year 2015/16, Pakistan’s exports were reduced by 14.37 percent, coming down to $12.08 billion, as against $14.11 billion in the same period of the last fiscal year.
On the other hand, the new National Trade Policy of Pakistan has set a yearly export target of 35 Billion Dollars, which seems ambitious under the bleak circumstances and the weak performance.
The President of APBF – Mr. Ibrahim Qureshi stated that. “It is disturbing to see this pattern, as Pakistan’s exports are consistently declining over such a long period of time. There is a need to realign the government’s economic policies with the evolving needs of the business community, to create more synergy between the federal budget, the trade policy and the government’s Vision 2025, which will help boost exports in future. The government must engage the leading exporters of the country to take their input and identify their grievances.”
The government must review the additional duties imposed on major trading items like textiles. It must take concrete measures to resolve the debilitating challenges. Another factor which has led to this decline is the chronic energy shortages faced by the industries, whereby, despite gaining preferential market access to European Union, the drop in Pakistan’s exports has continued. Over the recent years, the government has also hurt several exporters, by withholding billions of Rupees in payments, for refunds, duty drawback and other payables.
The APBF is a vibrant business association which promotes and protects the interests of the business community and a wide range of industries in Pakistan. It also advises reforms to the Government sector, regarding policy formulation, regulatory realignments and implementation in the commercial and industrial sectors of the economy. Over the years, APBF has been consistently playing a positive role in elevating the standards and facilitation of business activity in Pakistan.
Over the past seven months, the trade deficit has increased by 4.31 percent, to come as low as $13.6 billion. More specifically, the textile and clothing sector exports fell by 8.76 per cent, in eight months (July 2015 to February 2016) and came down to $8.363 billion from $9.166 billion in the same period last year.