ISLAMABAD-Exporters have asked the government to address their key issues to increase the country’s exports, which are continuously declining from last several months due to the COVID-19.

Leading exporters of textile and rice sectors have met with Secretary Commerce Muhammad Sualeh Ahmed Faruqui. He was apprised of hurdles faced by the exporters including shortage of gas and other utilities, clearance of DLTL dues, refund of taxes, role of other government departments in promotion of exports, regulatory issues, market access issues with some specific countries and role of the federal government in resolving the problems faced by the exporters at provincial and local levels.

Secretary Commerce assured his full support to resolve the issues raised by the exporters. He said that Ministry of Commerce would take up the matters with other relevant federal ministries as well as respective provincial governments on priority to facilitate the exporters and boost exports of the country. He advised the exporters to maintain liaison with Ministry of Commerce and TDAP for better implementation of policies.

Pakistan’s exports are continuously declining after Covid-19. In mid March, because of a lockdown to control the spread of the pandemic, followed by a global economic slowdown, the export-oriented industry in Pakistan suffered as reflected in March 2020 figures, which showed the decline in growth by 8 per cent compared to same period last year. The situation persisted and, in April 2020, the exports showed a downward trend of 54 per cent as compared to April 2019.

After the month of April and with the efforts of the government to encourage the export sector, the first signs of recovery were observed in the month of May 2020, which only saw 33 per cent decline in exports as compared to same month last year. The momentum continued in June 2020, as the downward trend has been brought down to single digit figure of 6 per cent in dollar value terms. However, the ministry has not shared the figures of exports in absolute terms.

Secretary Ministry of Commerce, Muhammad Sualeh Ahmed Faruqui visited the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) where he was received by Chief Executive and Acting Secretary TDAP.

During the visit, Secretary Commerce was briefed about the TDAP’s ongoing initiatives. He advised to focus especially on virtual exhibitions, B2B marketplace, research and data analytics, as the participation in physical exhibitions has reduced drastically, because of ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. He appreciated the TDAP’s prominent role, as direct interface with the trade, in providing policy input to Ministry of Commerce as well as other ministries in addition to trade facilitation and trade promotion work.