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Govt asked to encourage private sector to play role in putting economy on track

Govt asked to encourage private sector to play role in putting economy on track

LAHORE    –  The PIAF on Saturday observed that Pakistan has been facing unprecedented trade deficit despite the prevalence of low international prices of our biggest import oil. PIAF senior vice chairman Nasir Hameed and vice chairman Javed Siddiqi, in a joint statement, said that a number of reasons can be attributed to the increasing trade deficit, which include structural factors and erroneous policies. Unlike the Middle East or East Asia, Pakistan has followed a traditional policy of import substitution rather than export promotion. Therefore, little emphasis has been given on broadening exports that have remained over-reliant on textiles. Exports of cloth, cotton yarn and value-added textiles make up to almost 60 per cent of our total exports. The economic charts of Pakistan stand on an unsatisfactory level at the moment. PIAF asks the government and policymakers to encourage private sectors to play their roles in putting the economy back on the right track, Nasir Hameed added. We should fully avail the opportunities created due to the worldly chain of events, such as the global decline in oil prices and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Nasir Hameed observed that the government’s battle against the bloated trade deficit is reversing and may cause pressure on the external side because of all-time high imports, however, it also helped the Federal Board of Revenue collect maximum revenue at import stage. 

He expressed concerns over the alarming rise in the trade deficit of the country, which has gone all-time high in Nov, showing a steep rise of 162%, driven mainly by more than three-time increase in imports compared to the exports from the country.

PIAF vice chairman Javed Siddiqi said that only recovery in exports would ease pressure on the external sector, as the reversing trend in trade deficit was witnessed for the fifth consecutive month because merchandise trade deficit reached $5.107 billion in Nov against $1.94 billion over the corresponding month last year. This is the highest trade deficit recorded in a single month in terms of value.

Javed Siddiqi said that widening gap in exports and imports is affecting the current account balance. The current year started with a rising import bill which poses a serious threat putting pressure on the external side. The import bill in Nov reached an all-time high of $8 billion from $4.12 billion over the corresponding month last year, indicating an increase of 94%. PIAF leaders said that the first five months of the current fiscal year saw a rise of more than 117.25% in trade deficit. The merchandise trade deficit rose to $20.74 billion in July-Nov 2021 from $9.55 billion over the corresponding months last year.

They believed that an increase in remittances, growth in export proceeds and Roshan Digital Accounts would help mitigate the pressure to a large extent. One of the major initiatives of the government to encourage imports of raw materials also pushed up the import bill. Oil prices have also increased substantially, which pushed up the import bill because of high demand for energy in the domestic market.

Source: The Nation

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