TARGETING the export led growth in order to take Pakistan towards self reliance and overcome the persistent balance of payment deficit, the government has taken an important initiative of the formation of National Export Development Board (NEDB) to provide strategic guidance to bolster the country’s exports in different sectors.
According to the Ministry of Commerce, the NEDB will also oversee the alignment, progress and implementation of Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) along with various sector specific policy initiatives.
The seriousness to bolster exports can be gauged from the fact that the NEDB will be chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan himself whilst the body involves not only the government officials but also representatives from different sectors of the economy.
Enhancing exports has always remained a major challenge for successive governments but nothing was done in the past to correct the course.
Given its composition, we are confident that the NEDB will come up with innovative ideas and out of box short, medium and long term solutions to give a major push to the exports.
In addition to being competitive, the country’s exports should be in line with market trends and quality, and be certified on internationally acceptable standards.
In the short to medium term, we will suggest the government to capitalize on exportable services and products requiring minimal infrastructure and investment.
For instance, there is a growing demand for software and IT solutions. It is easier to establish a software house than to set up a manufacturing unit.
Our IT exports witnessed growth of almost 40% last fiscal year, which indicates there is a lot of potential to grow more and explore avenues to enhance software export.
With minimal efforts and support from the government, this sector can become a significant source of earning billions of dollars just as happened in our neighbouring India.
Apart from targeting high value products, we need to nurture entrepreneurship and extend full support and incentives to SMEs to achieve diversification in exports.
The SEZs under the CPEC provide us an excellent opportunity to expand our industrial base. The NEDB must also focus on making the SEZs a success story.