KARACHI -  Ahmad Jawad, Chairman of Regional Standing Committee, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI), has sought concerted efforts to diversify exports of the country.

Talking to APP Wednesday, he said urgent and comprehensive measures were needed to contain decline in the exports as it would, otherwise, lead to unfavourable balance of payments.

"It will not only put pressure on the exchange rates but may also lead to rupee depreciation," he said.

Emphasizing that the country must urgently protect itself from the vicious cycle consequent to rupee depreciation and rising import bill, Jawad said the current export base needed to be expanded.

"Our exports must no more be kept limited to basic commodities," he said.

The FPCCI office-bearer said the country's current exports comprising textile goods, leather, cotton, grains, fruits, etc ought to be transformed into value added goods. "We have to focus more on transition of our exports so as to make them integral components of global value supply chain," he elaborated.

Ahmad Jawad suggested prudence in prompt identification of export opportunities with equal attention towards sensitization of investors and the public. This, he said, was crucial to enhance their participation in the value creation process.

To a query, he said there existed several other opportunities to strengthen supply chain of finished products pertaining to the country's untapped sector of horticulture.

Mentioning that the sector was constantly ignored, Ahmad Jawad referred to Bangladesh, a major importer of cotton that now is the fifth largest textile exporter in the world. "This is just because of its value added textile exports," he said.

Replying to another question, he said as per available data the country's export of cotton yarn had significantly dropped, however, export of ready-made garments had improved by around 4.2 per cent during fiscal year 2016-2017.

"This again establishes the importance of value addition," he said and suggested that Pakistan could enhance its meat and dairy exports.

"We can export frozen meat products, powdered milk, cheese and other value added goods, developed with needed creativity, instead of exporting raw products," he added.

The FPCCI official said a little attention could also help the country become a major player in the global out-sourcing industry as there was a sizable presence of skilled human force.

"Philippines, a country with half the population of ours has roughly $25 billion of exports in the global out-sourcing industry (part of service sector)," he said. Similarly, he said, attention was needed to be paid towards tourism center and referred to Dubai that earned $36.4 of foreign exchange through tourism in 2015.

"We have got some breath-taking scenery, palatable food, and a wonderful cultural history for the global tourists," Ahmad Jawad said.

He agreed that Gwadar once developed in a proper way with foolproof security of the beaches could emerge among the best beaches in the world.

Reiterating that the government needed to adopt a liberal view for export pzomotion, he said a holistic approach was needed to be adopted.

Ahmad Jawad also suggested need" to support entrepreneurship and to create new avenues for growth through proper guidance of the youth.

"Entrepreneurship creates a virtuous cycle of prosperity as the people not only get employed, create value for the society and the economy but also promote employment opportunities," he said.

The FPCCI official said the spectacular growth of the US economy had only been possible through the culture of entrepreneurship which entailed taking risks for new ventures and not fearing from failure.