The eleven-month import numbers are out and they don reflect any substantial shift from the broad composition observed in 10M FY14. Data released by Pakistan Bureau of statistics continue to show an increase in capital expanding imports--such as machinery--along with a corresponding decline in consumption oriented imports that kept total imports in 11M FY14 almost at the same level as that in the year-ago period. However, there have been some noteworthy developments on month-on-month basis.
It is a collective perception that under-invoicing and under-valuing imports from United Arab Emirates are a source of leakage from the revenue collection. This is particularly in case of Dubai where Pakistani importers first land their consignments before dispatching them to the country. The damage comes in when these consignments are under-invoiced to evade taxes and duties, and hence bypass the governments tax authorities.
A little less than a month since the budget speech and the government may already be humbled. While the Finance Minister announced a 4.24 percent year-on-year growth in exports over the 10-month period, the figure has taken a dip and now stands at 3.5 percent over the 11-month period compared with close to 6 percent during the corresponding period of last fiscal year.
According to the economic think tank, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), there is an untapped trade potential of USD1.6 billion between India and Pakistan. Exploring this untapped potential can lead to boosting the trade and competitiveness of the two countries, a recent study done by ICRIER pointed out.
The Nawaz Sharif government is rightly or wrongly also known as pro-industry. One is not sure fertiliser is considered as part of industry or whether the definition fails to go beyond textiles and industries surrounding Central Punjab. Whatever the case is, the government has erred big time and that too on the policy front, while deciding GIDC rates for the fertiliser industry.
Pakistans exports may not be on an ideal growth trajectory, but had it not been for huge declines in sugar and jewellery, the countrys 11M FY14 exports would have increased by a billion dollars over last year.
Regulators are supposed to watch over not only the sectors stability but also the consumer rights. After a lull of five-six years, recent events indicate that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is gradually redeeming its reputation of a forward-looking regulator. Yet there is a sense that is also needs to amplify its consumer protection efforts.