UK-Pakistan Joint Business Council Chairman Mian Kashif Ashfaq has expressed the confidence that Pakistan’s exports will swell after its exit from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list and expected removal from the European Union’s list of weak anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism regimes.
Talking to Pak-British Friendship Council President North Zone Muhammad Arbab Khan, he pointed out that a couple of days ago, the EU lauded Pakistan’s progress on implementing the international conventions that were part of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus scheme.
Pakistan is urging the EU to remove the country from its list of countries having strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering (AML)/counter-financing of terrorism regimes after Islamabad’s exit from the FATF grey list.
Ashfaq revealed that the EU representative acknowledged Pakistan’s remarkable progress on completing the remaining two FATF action plans and gave assurances that Brussels would soon remove Pakistan’s name from the ranks of weak AML regimes.
The two developments would surely improve prospects for a meaningful increase in exports but it is also understood that this will not happen automatically and both the Government and the business community will have to work hard to make it happen.
There is a business friendly government in power in Pakistan and despite the financial crunch, it is providing much-needed relief and incentives to the industry to help increase production and exports.
As part of the strategy to bring down the cost of doing business and make our exports competitive in the international market, the Government recently approved a special electricity tariff for the export oriented sectors.
But this is not enough as the country is unable to meet growing energy requirements for different sectors including the industry, especially in the winter months, which would obviously hit the exports despite other incentives being offered by the Government.
Similarly, access of the industry to credit is seriously jeopardized by a sharp increase in the policy rate by the State Bank of Pakistan.
The Government should, therefore, tangibly incentivise and subsidize industrialization, import substitution, exploration of new import markets for competitive imports, IT exports and facilitate small and medium enterprises in the export-oriented industries for the near-term gains.