LAHORE -  The businessmen have criticised the government for lacking result-oriented policies to enhance exports and its reliance on borrowing in financial matter, as the government has once again issued sukuk bonds to borrow $1 billion from international market.

All Pakistan Business Forum president Ibrahim Qureshi said that repayments liabilities are fast approaching and foreign earnings especially exports are shrinking but government, instead of providing incentives to the exporters to improve foreign exchange, is depending only on debts and taxes.

Ibrahim Qureshi said that Pakistan tapped the international debt market twice soon after the present regime came into power.

In April 2014, Euro bonds worth $1 billion of 5 years with mark-up of 7.24% and $1 billion of 10 years period with mark up of 8.25% were launched. In November 2014 again international Sukuk worth $1 billion for a period of 5 years at 6.75 mark-up were again issued. Eurobonds and Sukuk were issued after the gap of 9 years and 7 years respectively.

He said that government remains always busy in search of new avenues of borrowing and ways to burden common man under taxes. The govt feels soothing comfort when it succeeds to get loan from IMF or when bonds are floated successfully but this comfort is temporary.

It is unfortunate that as soon as the IMF loan programme is going to conclude another loan in the form of Sukuk bonds have been issued for a period of five years at a return of 5.5 percent by mortgaging a portion of Lahore-Islamabad Motorway.

He said that the foreign debt would have negative impact on fiscal deficit, and overall debt. He claimed that Pakistan issued bonds at higher rates than the interest rate of Sri Lanka and Bahrain.

He observed that Pakistan is rich in resources. “We have agricultural land with surplus crops of cotton, rice, wheat, fruits and many other things.

The country is rich in livestock with 14% and 7.5 % global population of buffalo, goat respectively. We claim to have one of the biggest reserves of coal deposits in Thar and in Baluchistan; we have gold and copper mines. The coastal area of Pakistan is blend with one of the best sea food items like a fish and prawn.”

He said that government has no time to think how Vietnam, Cambodia and Bangladesh increased their exports with meager resource as compared to Pakistan.

Ibrahim Qureshi asked the government why it is happy to pay high markup on sukuk and why same support is not provided to export sector. Despite an effort of the government to enhance exports in 2015-16, the country’s exports declined by 12.11 percent to $20.802 billion during the last fiscal year from $23.667 billion during the same period of the previous year.