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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Advisor on Commerce and Invest-ment, Abdul Razak Dawood has said that the government will reduce tariffs on raw materials of textiles, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, dairy, food processing, engineering and footwear etc in the federal budget.

Talking to Business Recorder, he said, Commerce Ministry’s effort is that there should be no duty on industrial raw material, adding that he has held a maiden meeting with the newly appointed Finance Minister, Shaukat Tarin and another is due soon.

In reply to a question, he said, the philosophy of Commerce Ministry’s budget proposals is to encourage and support domestic industry for “Make in Pakistan”.

He contended that with reduction in duties on raw materials, not only would industry grow but also exports will increase and philosophy of “Make in Pakistan” will work.

Dawood said another issue is the anti-export bias which necessitates determining which sector/industry needs more support to raise exports. Industries that need support include glass, food (mangoes, potatoes, Kinnows, dates), engineering (two wheelers and three wheelers), transformers and cutlery. The Wazirabad based cutlery industry’s quality is very close to international standards and if they are given support, their exports will increase.

In textiles, home textile, towels, and garments need support. In textiles, there are a few sectors where Pakistan has not succeeded in raising exports so far i.e. ladies garments, sweaters, suits, shirts. These sectors will be supported in the budget. The government will also extend support to technical textiles for example very sophisticated fabrics and zips used in jackets.

“Our philosophy is, reduce duties, support Make in Pakistan, import substitution and extend support to a few important sectors,” he said.

In order to make industry competitive, it is important to reduce cost of doing business for which reduction in cost input (raw materials) is critical. Commerce Ministry began its efforts to reduce the cost of inputs from budget of 2019, then again in budget of 2020-21 and the same is the target in the budget 2021-22.

Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2021-2025 was presented before the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet which agreed to the framework. Now the Ministry is working on individual policies in each area like fruits and vegetables, engineering, poultry, rice, mangoes, Kinnows, potatoes.

“This is a constant process and work will continue to improve existing policies,” he added.

The Economic Coordination Committee has also constituted a two-member committee comprising Razak Dawood and SAPM on Power and Petroleum, Tabish Gauhar to discuss energy issues of industry.

Answering a question Razak Dawood said he would meet Tabish Gauhar on Saturday to discuss ways to ensure competitive energy tariffs for Pakistani export oriented industry as is being given by Bangladesh, Vietnam, China and Cambodia.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021