ISLAMABAD: Blaming the government for long standing issues of the export industry, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Chairman SM Muneer suggested further devaluing Pakistan’s currency by 10% and printing more currency notes in a bid to increase the volume of exports.
He stated this at a Senate Standing Committee on Commerce, which was chaired by Senator Shibli Fraz.
Muneer criticised the government, saying that ill-planned policies were mainly responsible for the downfall of the country’s exports and it cannot be revived without giving the business community incentives and bringing reforms.
Muneer’s main point of contention was the non-provision of electricity and gas to the industry in Punjab, non-provision of water in Karachi, Rs120 billion stuck as refunds and imposition of additional gas surcharge of Rs72 billion to the industrialists without providing them gas.
“Yes, it is our government, but no one is listening to us”, he said while responding to a remark of Senator Saleem Mandviwala.
Muneer said that when we go to the State Bank for claiming refunds, they make excuses citing shortage of money. “If you don’t have the currency then print them and devalue your currency at least by 10% for increasing exports,” he said. “There is no chance of increasing export without resolving these issues and giving incentives to the traders,” he added.
Earlier, the committee grilled the commerce ministry for preparing a ‘visionless’ Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2015-18.
Senator Salim Mandviwala said TDAP had failed to perform, as all the export oriented sectors were on strike due to failed policies of the incumbent government. He advised revising the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China, which had caused serious loss to exports.
“Commerce ministry has made the trade policy a joke. Chambers and trade associations are not involved in the decision making process therefore, imports are increasing and exports are going down,” he added.
Mandviwala sought revising the FTA with China due to which Pakistan is losing $4-5 billion per annum, since under-invoicing and other such issues are rampant. Commerce ministry’s official confirmed that the difference of $4-5 billion in trade figures between Pakistan and China was crucial to resolve the trade imbalance.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2015.
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