LAHORE: The Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) has called for out-of-the-box solutions for economic growth in these crucial times, as the exports have declined by 7 percent to $21.39 billion in this fiscal year against $22.95 billion of preceding fiscal year.
Covid-19 had adversely impacted the world economy as well as the Pakistan trade and industrial sectors, said PIAF Chairman Mian Nauman Kabir in a statement on Saturday and urged the government to take steps to squeeze the gap of country's trade deficit which had dropped by 27 percent to $23.18 billion in fiscal year 2019-20.
He said the local currency continued its downward slide against the US dollar, hitting the all-time low of Rs168.34 against the green back in the inter-bank market, despite the fact that Pakistan's Current Account Deficit (CAD) has reduced by 78 percent owing to lower imports and better inflows.
The CAD fell to $2.97 billion during fiscal year 2019-20 as against the deficit of $13.43 billion in the preceding fiscal year while the import bill fell by 19 percent to $44.57 billion during that fiscal year as compared with $54.76 billion but rupee continued to slide, he added.
He said that weakening of rupee indicates that the country was once again marching towards a huge trade deficit, which might jack up the current account deficit again. "The inflows of workers' remittances also grew by 6.4 percent to $23.12 billion during fiscal year 2019-20 as compared with $21.739 billion in preceding fiscal year, which should have a positive impact on dollar-rupee exchange rate," he added.
PIAF Chairman urged the government to come up with better trade policy for trade and industry to bring further down the gap of trade deficit. For a better economic growth it is imperative to curtail the energy prices for industry so that the cost of business may be reduced leading to increasing the exports.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2020