The Federal Minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal said that the incumbent government is committed to exceeding Pakistan’s export of $ 100 billion and urged the country’s Chambers of Commerce and Industries to play their role in boosting growth and expanding export.
According to him, the government will support the business community, and traders should adopt a market-driven approach in order to get space in the global market. Federal Minister noted that although the recent floods have badly affected the Country’s economy but the government is committed to expediting the rehabilitation process of the flood-affected areas while the business community, NGOs, and civil society should play their role in relief operations.
Traditionally, Pakistan is an agricultural economy, and the country went through a rapid economic development and industrialization process during the Ayub Khan era in the 1960s. Unfortunately, Pakistan could not maintain the pace of national growth due to multiple factors including the nationalization of industry, political instability, discontinuity of policies, lack of visionary and committed leadership, nepotism, and divergent economic priorities of the successive governments in the past. Pakistan had been a major exporter of rice, wheat, fruits, sports articles, surgical instruments, cotton, and textile products, however, the country’s export could not achieve their due space in the global market due to quality and pricing issues along with lack of support from relevant quarters of the government. On the other hand, India claimed several profitable Pakistani products including the Basmati rice, mangoes, and pink salt as its brands in the European market which endangered the future of Pakistani trade abroad, while most of the Pakistani textile, sports, and surgical instruments manufacturers preferred to manufacture their products for reputed global brands which not only put a negative impact on the local industry but restricted the prospects for Pakistani products in the global market.
In fact, the solution to Pakistan’s economic problems lies in the promotion of private sector investment, industrial growth, and expansion of the country’s exports. The government can legislate to facilitate local businesses and industry while the business community should focus on a market-driven, sustainable, and long-term approach instead of shortcut measures to get ingress into the global markets. According to experts, the improvement of the economy is essential for the survival and security of the nation, and political stability and business-friendly policies are necessary to increase industrial growth and boost exports of Agri and non-Agri products of the country.
Luckily, there have been encouraging indicators during the first quarter of the current year as the Country’s exports reached $100 million per day in the month of February which marked a 26 percent increase as compared to the same month in the previous year. Although foreign trade has been on an upward trajectory over the past several months, but it is being viewed as the result of the highest-ever depreciation of the rupee, and greater demand from the international market instead of government measures.
On the part of the government, the babos had always faced a scarcity of time when it comes to official work therefore, despite an overall review of the Country’s Import and export Control Act-1950, certain clauses and amendments had been added to the policy to regulate trade on ad-hoc basis due to which the bureaucratic formalities still exist in the country’s exports regime which not only creates undue hurdles in the process but delays transportation of the goods and discourages exporters.
Presently, the government has initiated a campaign for Geographical Identification (GI) of Pakistani products besides challenging India’s baseless claim over Pakistani basmati rice and pink salt, which will have a positive impact on Pakistani exports. In fact, the government and the opposition must work together to remove their political differences and create stability in the country because no nation can claim sovereignty without achieving economic independence.