LAHORE  -  Adviser to Prime Minister for Commerce, Textile, Industry, Production & Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood has said that “Make in Pakistan” will be promoted and made a buzz word to strengthen manufacturing sector.

He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Saturday. Advisor to PM said that all efforts would be made to make this slogan a reality. Unless and until manufacturing sector and exports are strengthened, economy would not be able to achieve high growth rate.

He said that payment of refunds to the industries will be started from November this year. “FBR Chairman has given me a commitment regarding refunds,” Abdul Razak Dawood said and added that Pakistan needs export driven growth strategy. He said that even United States cannot run without exports. Malaysia, Thailand and Bangladesh are flourishing through their exports. It is a good omen that exports are improving since last year. “My dream is to get exports back to $ 25 billion by the year 2019”, advisor said and added that we have to promote export culture. He said that imports are going to be tightened as we are a country importing too much. He said that textile and rice sectors have low hanging fruits. He said that we should focus on value-addition in agriculture instead of just exporting agri products.

Abdul Razak Dawood informed the house that Prime Minister Imran Khan is visiting China from November 02 and a lot of development at economic front is expected. “I had five meetings with Chinese Ambassador and it is a matter of satisfaction that they are very conscious about gap in trade between the two countries” Advisor to PM said.

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Almas Hyder said refunds of up to Rs10 million should be released immediately as industrialists are running short of capital. They have to pay utility bills, salaries of staff and various other expenses.

We talk about just five export-oriented exports despite the fact that engineering and various other sectors have the potential to give a gigantic boost to the country’s export, Almas Hyder said and added that these sectors should also be encouraged through relaxation in duties and taxes.

SAARC Chamber senior vice president and chairman Businessmen Group Iftikhar Ali Malik, while addressing the meeting, said that business community has reposed full confidence on the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying that the incumbent government has full potential and firm commitment to drive the country out of present economic crisis.

Iftikhar Malik said that higher exports is the only solution to get the country out of this crisis and it is the only way that can help repay the above debts otherwise the country would never be able to get out of the debt trap and would have to take fresh loans to service the principal amount and interest of the actual loans which is already over $93 billion. He said that to increase exports, the government of PTI has to address major odds hurting our industry and exports such as high cost of doing business, availability of energy: both gas and electricity, at an affordable price as compared to our regional competitors, adequate supply of raw cotton, timely payment of Sales Tax and Income Tax Refunds to avoid liquidity problem, rupee dollar parity, shortage of skilled manpower, lack of institutional support and infrastructure facilities.

He said construction of 5 million houses will give impetus to economic activities in the country but pumping investment in real estate sector is not a solution to the complex economic crisis as there is dire need too to invest in production oriented sectors to boost the exports of the country. He said immediate challenge is the balance of payment situation, which should be addressed by reducing imports and increasing exports of the country. The PTI government should devise a plan to reduce the imports by $5 to $6 billion and enhance the exports by at least two billion dollars to reduce the trade gap.