Reviving the export sector

Pakistan News 0 Comment 5

The export sector is in the doldrums, and according to a meeting organised by the Sustainable Policy Development Institute entitled ‘Achieving export competitiveness in Pakistan’ a joint effort is needed from all government and private sector stakeholders in order to meet the challenges that are daily faced by the country’s exporters. In many ways this is a statement of the blindingly obvious and ought to have been at the heart of all government activity in respect of exports for decades, but seemingly not so.

Equally obvious are the reasons why the country lags behind and underperforms. Top of the list is the unending deficit in the energy sector with the years of power outages having taken a crippling toll, driving export industries away in the case of textiles and a lack of product and market diversification. There is too much reliance on European markets and despite having the benefits of the European Union’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) as a considerable incentive, this too has been an opportunity largely missed. The taxation system, trade tariffs and corruption were all tagged as contributory factors as well as a failure to engage with stakeholders by the federal government.

This is not the economic equivalent of rocket science. There is no shortage of potential markets and Pakistan has bilateral and regional trade agreements with China, Malaysia and Sri Lanka to name but three. Like the GSP these have not been exploited to the full and one might be led to wonder what our trade missions in these countries, as well as other countries where there is a substantial diplomatic presence, are doing to push our products and services. Once again we are drawn to the conclusion that there are endemic deficits in planning and a chronic lack of vision. There is no evidence that the nation is moving towards being a knowledge-based state as the appalling under-investment in education at primary and secondary levels continues to eat into brighter futures. The remedy for all this lies squarely in the hands and at the door of the government, federal and provincial. The clock ticks on, sadly the right people are not listening to it.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2017.

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The post Reviving the export sector appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Source: Tribune News | Reviving the export sector

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