• Increase in value-added products a good sign
  • 14 percent rise in export
  • 18 percent fall in imports

LAHORE: Prime Minister's Advisor for Commerce, Textile, Industry, Production and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood Monday said that increase in value-added products was a good sign, while 14 per cent rise in export and 18 per cent fall in imports in July 2019 compared with corresponding period last year, proved that now things were moving in right direction.

Speaking at LCCI (Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry) Export Trophy-2019, he said the government was rectifying the things on economic front which went wrong in the past.

He mentioned, “We had a trader led importation consumption driven economy in the past. Uncontrolled imports, under-invoicing, contrary to the fact tariff structures and irrational exchange rate dwindled the economy."

He added that major industries stopped manufacturing and started import because there was five per cent duty imposed on finished goods as compare to 20 per cent on the import of raw materials.

Abdul Razak Dawood said that responsibility of the government was to correct the things, and ‘if we don't do this, we will continue to suffer. Our survival lies in exports. It is government's responsibility to give businessmen market access."

He said that China had agreed to extend duty-free access on 313 tariff lines. “I have targeted five countries USA, Canada, Japan, Korea and Australia to get market access for Pakistani businessmen," he asserted.

The advisor said that engineering and other sectors were being focused for exports and it was good to see that Pakistan exported tractors to Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya etc.

LCCI President Almas Hyder said that current account deficit was the biggest problem of Pakistan, and huge gap between import sand exports created issues like currency devaluation and rise in interest rates.

“Exports have a paramount importance in Pakistan's economy as these were the main source of revenue generation (around 24 billion dollars) and employment creation. Exports are also imperative for maintaining the country's balance of payment. As Pakistan aims to become a competitive economy in the region and grow above seven per cent, it is imperative for us to enhance our export revenues to deal with multi-dimensional economic challenges that have confronted our nation," he suggested.

Almas Hyder was of the view that there was need for a long-term integrated export strategy that encouraged investment in manufacturing for producing export surpluses, promoted value-addition, and resolved long-standing issues like competitiveness and productivity.

Special focus in the new export strategy should be given to technology intensive industries with immense export potential e.g. Sports Goods, Surgical, Auto parts, Chemicals, Value Added Textile, Ceramics, Cutlery, Engineering Goods and pharmaceuticals etc.

There was also a need to enhance competitiveness of Pakistan's industry through a rational tariff regime that promoted industrialization and an efficient system of refund payments which would not squeeze the working capital of the industry.

He said that the persistent challenges in Business Regulatory Environment e.g. registering a company, electricity connection, getting construction permits, resolving insolvency and registering property etc. needed to be dealt with to facilitate investment in export-oriented industries. “As the countries around the world are moving swiftly towards smart regulations, electronic portals, Pakistan would have to adopt a similar course and review old regulations with a Regulatory Guillotine," he concluded.

Earlier, Abdul Razak Dawood conferred LCCI export awards to the best exporters for various categories.

Chief Minister Trophy went to Mian Tariq Nisar of Nisar Spinning Mills, while two Best Export Performance awards were given to Muhammad Rizwan Younis of Guard Agricultural Research & Services and Alid Hassam Asghar of Ali Commercial Corporation.

Eight Best Export Brand awards were given to Qasim Rehman of Kalamkaar, Amjad Wazir of Power Vision System, Tariq Mahmood of Sarwar Foods, Chaudhry Umair Javaid of Golys Enterprises, Zafar Iqbal of Nobel Foods, Malik Muhammad Omer Farooq of Omer Agro International and Muhammad Shafiq of Supreme Rice Mills.

LCCI Senior Vice President Khawaja Shahzad Nasir and Vice President Faheem-ur-Rehman Saigal also spoke on the occasion.