Businessmen term Export Target Unrealistic

  • January 31, 2013
The Government has set $95 billion exports target in the next three years, but industrialists and businessmen term it an ambitious target in the wake of energy crisis and high production cost due to multiple factors etc.
While commenting upon the second Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2012-2015 which was announced by Ministry of Commerce, Mr.Zafar Bakhtawari, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) said that Government should set realistic export targets by keeping in view the ground realities rather than setting of unrealistic export target.
ICCI President said that the country has not only missed the annual export target of $25.5 billion by $2billion margin but also witnessed highest ever trade deficit of $21.27 billion during the last fiscal year 2011-12. He said that export target of $95 billion in the next three years seems very ambitious and much would depend on the facilitation that Government will announce for industrial sector and also real implementation of announced action plan.
Mr.Bakhtawari said that the industry needed a continuous supply of electricity and gas to keep the units operational and to complete the export orders well within the given timeframe but only because of the shortage of electricity and gas the exports were not up to the mark. Therefore, Government needs to build the confidence of businessmen and industrialists by ensuring supply of basic ingredients that were required to pull the wheel of economy in coming years, he emphasized.
He said that industrialists are not getting any technical support from the Government to up-grade technology and they have to invite technical experts from foreign countries with their own efforts and at their own expense for installation of new technology and machinery. He said Government in coordination with Chambers should conduct needs analysis surveys of industries to find out their emerging needs and to come up with remedial measures to address those needs.
However, ICCI President appreciated several ingredient of trade policy 2012-15 like Setting up of Exim Bank, promotion of services sector exports, provide mark-up support of 2.0 percent for future import purchase of machinery, Establishment of Services Export Development Council and provision of ad-hoc relief of 3.0 percent of FoB on the selected sectors.
He said that heavy government borrowing is also coming in the way of industrialization in the country. The unavailability of cheaper credit to the business doing people is also a very serious issue as businesses need short to medium term certainty in the interest rate for investment but in Pakistan the situation is the other way round. Mr.Bakhtawari urged the Government to spend borrowed money on capital projects, which provide a platform for jobs creation through generation of economic activity.