Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the Commerce Division to set targets to enhance exports for the next six months following an unsatisfactory export rate in the past six months. He said the targets must be reviewed on quarterly and half-yearly basis to ensure their achievement.
Khan said this while chairing a meeting attended by his Commerce Advisor Abdul Razzak Dawood, Commerce Secretary Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera, and senior officials of the commerce division. He also directed the division to determine the roles of various departments and assess their performance. He said his government’s top priority was to enhance exports.
The meeting was held to assess the performance of the commerce division and reviewed several areas of the division’s work including policy as well as legal and institutional reforms.
On the institutional reforms, the prime minister was informed that the textile division had been merged with the commerce division. He was also informed that the cash subsidy scheme had already been extended till June 2021. The premier was told that the export sector had been insulated from increase in power and gas tariffs and shielded through export refinance and long-term finance facility from increase in policy rate.
Khan was told that 20 percent shares of State Life Insurance Corporation were being offered by the Privatisation Commission and that the Trade Development Authority would be restructured to promote major sectors.
The meeting contemplated that despite these incentives and the drop in currency value, the first half of the current financial year saw a mere 3.21 percent increase in exports that amounted to $359 million. The premier said he wanted to see a real boost in exports that would justify the incentives given to the sector.
On policy matters, Khan directed the commerce division that an implementation strategy should be finalised soon on the cabinet-approved e-commerce policy and the National Tariff Policy, as these would benefit the business community.
Commerce Secretary Sukhera informed the meeting on policy, tariff, correction of trade balance, institutional and legal reforms as well as the measures taken by the commerce division during the past six months to improve trade diplomacy, enhance exports, and check imports.
The meeting was informed that a Tariff Policy Board had been set up as part of the National Tariff Policy and the process of reforms under the National Tariff Commission had been initiated.
The meeting was told that Pakistani participants had attended about 150 international trade fairs and exhibitions in a few previous months to promote Pakistani products and enhance exports.