ISLAMABAD - The government missed the exports target by $1.7 billion during previous fiscal year (FY2018) despite giving cash subsidies under the Prime Minister Export Package and sharply depreciating rupee against dollar.

Pakistan’s exports were recorded at $23.2 billion during FY2018 as against the target of $24.9 billion. The country’s exports increased to $23.2 billion during FY2018 as against $20.4 billion of the preceding year, showing growth of 13.74 percent. However, it missed the exports target by $1.7 billion.

The government had missed the target despite the fact that it had given cash subsidies under the Prime Minister Export Package, improved the power situation and partially released the tax refunds. Meanwhile, the government had also accepted the proposal of the exporters to depreciate the local currency to enhance the exports. The rupee had depreciated by 16 percent in last fiscal year. However, all these incentives had enhanced the exports but failed to meet the target. 

The officials of ministry of commerce and textile said that exports target of $24.9 billion was ambitious to achieve. “Exports registered a growth of 13.74 percent in one year at a time when exports were continuously declining from last few years,” said an official of the ministry. He further said that target was difficult to achieve. Pakistan’s exports had been falling since 2013-14 after attaining the peak level of $25 billion a year earlier. After a long time, exports had enhanced during previous financial year, which is a good sign, he added.

The government had once again set ambitious exports target of $28 billion for the next fiscal year 2018-19. The exports target would depend on the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF), which would be announced by the new government after upcoming general election to be held on July 25. The previous PML-N government had not announced the STPF and left the matter for the new government.

Pakistan’s exports had not enhanced in last one decade due to many reasons according to a World Bank report. Over the period 2005–16, Pakistan's exports of goods rose from $16.05 billion to $20.4 billion –an increase of only 27.3 percent compared to an increase of 276 percent in Bangladesh, 445 percent in Vietnam, and 165 percent in India,” stated a report of the World Bank, which was published last year. In the last six years alone (FY11–17), export earnings have declined by approximately 20 percent. Pakistan's poor trade performance in recent years is an outcome of diminishing export competitiveness. Export competitiveness, as indicated by the country's market share of global exports, has been declining over the years, while market shares of peer economies such as Malaysia, Mexico, and Thailand have doubled. Pakistan has lost 1.5 percent annually in export market share over the past decade.