By Asad Cheema
ISLAMABAD: Prime Ministerâ€™s adviser on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood on Tuesday said the government has prioritized to more concentrate on perusing the â€œMake in Pakistan Policyâ€ in current challenging situation after emergence of COVID-19 pandemic to increase local exports in international markets.
â€œWe are fully prepared to exploit the economic and trade opportunities expected in the wake of post COVID-19 pandemic to increase local production for promoting the Pakistan made products in global potential markets,â€ the adviser stated.
â€œWe perceive and expect more opportunities to promote bilateral trade and strengthen linkage with potential markets including European Union, China, Central Asian States, Middle East and African region besides promoting regional trade in post pandemic environment,â€ he said.
After the COVID-19 pandemic challenge, now the world has completely changed and the government economic team knew it and keenly observing the situation to meet the post coronavirus challenges at economic and trade front.
He said that business processes would be completely different in post COVID-19 situation and such difficult times always bring out new opportunities, new products and new ways of thinking.
Razak Dawoood said that in the current emergence of new realities and paradigm shift in international trade and economic side, now this was a golden opportunity for Pakistan to pursue the â€œMake in Pakistan Policy.â€
He said that Pakistan must move towards on making products on its own rather than importing items.
Talking about the tariff structure, he said that the Ministry of Commerce was pursuing to bring changes in the tariff structure for the upcoming fiscal year, aiming at facilitating local production and thereby moving towards to local manufacturing to get â€œMake in Pakistan Policyâ€™ successfully implemented.
He said the government wanted to decrease customsâ€™ duties on raw material and also wanted to document the non-tax businesses to bring them in the tax net.
He said exports to different regions had increased as the exports to Middle East went up 36 per cent , African regions 10 per cent while the exports to Central Asian Countries especially Uzbekistan were also on rise.
The adviser emphasized upon the need for exploiting the huge opportunities of increasing exports in the health and safety products like personal protective equipment (PPE) including protective masks, gloves, sanitizers, clothing, helmets, goggles and other garments or equipment designed for protection from COVID -19.
He said a summary in that regard would be presented to the cabinet, while the ministry was also negotiating the future strategy for increasing the exports to help export-led economic growth.
â€œWe should conclude our all strategy and start manufacturing in different sectors to achieve our exports targets,â€ he added.
Replying to a question, he said the government was equally focusing on all sectors of economy including textile, non-textile, and agriculture and engineering sectors to build export potential of the country in coming months.
Talking about the external trade situation, he said that in last 10 months (July-April) of current fiscal year 2019-20, the overall exports were declined by four percent as compared to the corresponding period of last year.
He said the exports increased by 13 percent in February, however, started reducing from March which had decline the exports by 6.5 per cent as compared to the last year.
However, he said even during the current lockdown situation, in the beginning of COVID- 19 pandemic, Pakistan exported textile and non-textile products while the countryâ€™s food exports increased especially in the Middle Eastern market. Likewise, exports in steel articles also increased in the last three months in the critical situation.