Arresting downward trend in exports

THE present Government considers itself to be pro-business and pro industry but ironically the export sector has remained neglected and as a consequence, instead of increasing, exports are declining and some of our markets are being captured by other countries due to lack of competitiveness by our goods. In this background, the high level meeting held in Islamabad on Thursday to review measures taken to arrest nose-dive in exports is a positive indication as they say better late than never.
The Prime Minister’s observation that in order to develop export sector, key enablers including quality infrastructure, labour productivity, access to utilities and technological development need to be focused and that should serve as a guideline for policy implementation. No doubt, government is improving the infrastructure and it is also working hard to address energy shortages but it has been lacking as far as incentives for quality and bringing down the cost of doing business is concerned. Input cost is much higher as compared to our regional and other competitors yet govt seems to be suffering from self-denial. Besides industry, same is the position with respect to agriculture, which has potential to push our exports meaningfully but here again cost of inputs is high and government keeps solacing the agricultural community through lollipops. It is also sorry state of affairs that instead of taking remedial measures, PM has resorted to beaten path of soliciting suggestions, a process that might take a few months more whereas ground situation demands urgent corrective steps. The answer lies, among others, in bringing down input cost and cost of doing business; developing a sound pool of skilled human resource; focus on IT, broad-basing export destinations, giving realistic export targets to our missions abroad and improving quality of products.

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