Trade and economy in focus


FINALLY some good news has started pouring in on economic front as government economic team at a meeting on Saturday informed Prime Minister Imran Khan that economic policies are coming to fruition due to considerable reduction in trade deficit, increase in exports and enhanced tax collection while trade deficit has reduced by thirty eight percent during the first two months of current fiscal year.
Indeed bringing down trade deficit is important for the country to effectively deal with challenge of current account deficit. Though government has managed to cut it down by squeezing imports yet despite depreciation of rupee and incentives given to the industries, exports have not witnessed much growth. The country can only stand on its feet by widening its tax base and bolstering exports. Our exports have remained stagnant rather sharply declined over the last five or six years. It is really time to consider out of box solutions to reverse this trend. Since long, we have been waiting for operationalisation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project but there appears to be no headway towards that end. These SEZs are really important to revive industralisation, which will not only create immense job opportunities for the youth but also bring value addition in our products and give much needed impetus to exports.
Addressing the meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan very aptly pointed towards revival of sick industrial units and those, which had been closed down consequent to misadministration and other reasons in the past. The first focus should be on reviving Pakistan Steel Mills that in fact was and still can be an asset for the country. The model of public private partnership can be followed to restart its production. Similarly, PIA needs to be steered out of dire straits through a well thought out business plan. The country can no longer afford losses of public sector enterprises and the government will have to take tough decisions so that these important organisations are no longer a burden on the national exchequer. On the tax collection side, we are confident that no effort will be spared to meet the mammoth target set for this financial year without succumbing to pressure from traders who also need to be forthcoming in documenting their business.
Government indeed had to take some tough decisions to stabilise the economy but as situation is now heading for some improvement, it is also time that government starts executing various development projects. There should not be any delay in the implementation of mega housing project as this project alone has the potential to trigger economic activity and inculcate confidence amongst businessmen. Relief must also be provided to masses especially to salaried class who are hit hard by price hike.