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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has constituted an inter-ministerial committee headed by Advisor on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood to suggest measures to resolve the issues facing different sectors and facilitate exports, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.

The decision was taken at a meeting of different sectors comprising Presidents of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The sources said the representatives of different Chambers and Associations pointed out the issues being faced by the business community in different sectors and also suggested measures to improve ease of doing business and export facilitation.

“A special committee on export facilitation comprising Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce & Investment (Lead), Minister for Industries & Production, SAPM on National Food Security & Research and representatives of exporters in sectors of textile, engineering, IT, Agro, non-Agro, and pharmaceuticals will be notified with detailed ToRs to look into the problems faced by the export sectors and suggest workable solutions to the government,” the sources added.

Dawood greets REAP for remarkable achievement in exports

The committee shall be mandated to hold regular meetings every fortnight. The Prime Minister will hold monthly meetings based on the recommendations of the Special Committee on exports facilitation to be attended by representatives of exporters in the sectors.

Meanwhile, on July 28, 2021, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet held threadbare discussion on the proposed Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2020-25 and observed that major hurdles to achieve export growth in the past was an unrealistic exchange rate.

The Committee stated that it is very important to properly document the framework in order to avoid similar mistake in the future. The then Advisor on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Hussain stated that he conducted a study in which it was identified that the unrealistic exchange rate, subverting energy policies and non-differentiation between textile and non-textile sector were the major hurdles in the growth of exports. He stated that all export products were ignored in the past at the expense of textile sector due to their strong lobby.

It was further deliberated that there was a need to bring Foreign Direct Investment (FD]) in the export-oriented industries. The policy should propose some interventions that may bring foreign investors in export-oriented sector, which was lacking in earlier, as well as, in this proposed policy.

However, the Finance Minister stated that there was a need of benchmarking as well. The fragmented industries need consolidation to achieve the potential of growth in future. It was observed that there was also a need to review the performance of the export-import bank, as well.

Export of goods, services: PM approves target of up to $40bn

Abdul Razak Dawood stated that export growth was not a priority of the past governments. Export sectors were loaded with duties and taxes. Refunds ran into billions which hampered the performance of the industry. He said that the policy has been formulated by identifying new areas for exports, as well.

Governor SBP asked the Commerce Division to identify the need of additional budget, if any, at this stage.

Finance Secretary stated that the Finance Division should also be consulted on this policy framework. It was also proposed that requirement of additional budget (if any) for the purpose should be examined in consultation with the Finance Division.

The ECC agreed that the draft STPF 2020-25 should be reviewed in a smaller group under the chairmanship of Minister for Finance and Revenue for reconsideration.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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