ISLAMABAD -  The government is all set to announce an incentive package for boosting country's exports that had declined by 3.8 percent during first half (July to December) of the current fiscal year over a year ago.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will announce the package aimed to enhance the country's exports after discussing it with the relevant stakeholders. "Prime minister has called an important meeting of stakeholders today (Tuesday) wherein he can announce the incentive package for boosting exports," said an official. He further said that package for five or six export-oriented sectors would be around Rs70 to Rs100 billion.

Textile sector would get the major chunk of the package. The government is likely to announce 3 percent rebate to yarn/grey fabric, 4 percent to processed fabrics, 6 percent for home textile/knitwear and 8 percent for garments sector. Similarly, proposed rebate for raw and semi-raw exports would likely be around 4 percent and value-added sectors 8 percent, respectively. Removal of Regulatory Duty (RD) on key export-oriented industrial inputs including raw material is also on the cards. Removal of import duty and sales tax on industrial machinery is also expected.

It is pertinent to mention here that trade deficit had widened by 22.22 percent during July-December period of the ongoing financial year. The country's trade imbalance was recorded at $14.9 billion in the period under review as against $11.86 billion of the corresponding period of the last year, according to the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

The government has projected the exports to grow to $24.75 billion and has estimated that the imports will surge to $45.2 billion by the end of this fiscal year 2016-17. Trade deficit had estimated at $20.5 billion for the year.

Meanwhile, exports increased by 1.99 percent to $1.73 billion in December 2016 from $1.76 billion in the same month of the last year. Meanwhile, the imports went up by 6.1 percent to $4.49 billion in December 2016 from $4.23 billion in December 2015. Therefore, trade deficit was registered at $2.76 billion during December 2016 as against $2.46 billion in the corresponding month of the last year, showing an increase of 11.87 percent.