ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Sheikh Amir Waheed has said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government needs to cooperate with the private sector in export promotion to overcome the rising trade and fiscal deficits. “During fiscal year 2017-18, Pakistan’s trade deficit surged to a record $34 billion,” he said. “It reflects that instead of promoting exports, the country depends on imports to meet its needs.”
Waheed highlighted that country’s exports have been struggling for the past many decades while exports of its neighbors have been improving. “In 1992, Bangladesh’s exports were $2.098 billion which rose to $35.96 billion by 2017,” he said. “However, Pakistan’s exports only improved from $7.3 billion in 1992 to $21.569 billion in 2017, which shows that the country remained unsuccessful in promoting exports in accordance with its real potential.”
He added that Pakistan is mostly dependent on textiles for exports while its global share of textile exports has dropped from 2.2% to 1.7%.
“During the last 25 years, India has reduced its dependence on textile exports by focusing on IT services, auto parts, pharmaceuticals and light engineering goods,” the president said. “Due to this, India’s exports crossed $298 billion in 2017.” He said that Pakistan should also follow the example and diversify its exports and further stressed the government to support the private sector in value addition.
ICCI Senior Vice President Muhammad Naveed Malik and Vice President Nisar Mirza remarked that the energy cost in Pakistan is the highest in the region which was a major hurdle in export promotion. They stressed that the government should focus on indigenous and renewable sources to produce cheap energy that would curb the cost of doing business.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2018.