Lahore - The Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) Chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh has asked the government to take measures to control the trade deficit, which has widened by 5.5 percent during first nine months of the present financial year.

Giving further details, he said that trade imbalance in March 2016 was registered at $1.85 billion, showing an increase of 22 percent.

“The trade deficit was recorded at $16.9 billion between July to March 2015-2016 against $16 billion recorded in the corresponding period last year,” he explained.

Quoting the latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, he said the exports reduced by 12.92 percent during July-March period of the ongoing fiscal year, and now stood at $15.6 billion

PIAF chairman further said the government had set unrealistic exports target amid improving export competitiveness, increasing share in regional trade, transition from factor driven economy to efficiency-driven and innovation driven economy. “Refunds of goods exported 12 months earlier are still outstanding”, he reminded. He further said that electricity cost for industrial production was highest in the region.

Concluding his address, he said, “The prime minister very kindly announced a relief of Rs. 3/unit in electricity bills. PIAF appreciates this and wants its implementation.”