ISLAMABAD       -           Pakistan’s leading exporters on Friday warned that exports would receive a setback in the upcoming months due to the outbreak of coronoavirus in the country.

Exporters have demanded of the government to resolve their issues amid COVID-19 outbreak, which is badly affecting the economic activities in the country. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired a meeting here at the Finance Division with a delegation of exporters to discuss various issues exporters have been facing after the outbreak of coronavirus and the evolving position of the global economies and its impact on the export sector of Pakistan.

Pakistani exporters are facing problems and they are being told not to ship consignments till further notice. Exporters are seeking relief package from the government to offset the massive losses.  The delegation briefed the adviser that due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic the global economies have gone into a recessionary phase and the demand for their products especially apparel has reduced to a considerable level. The exports, which had shown an improvement in the February and March, will receive a setback in the coming months. The government was informed that Pakistan’s exports might tumble by up to $2.67 billion in next few months. According to the estimates, exports could either tumble by 25 percent ($1.336 billion) at the minimum and by 50 percent (2.672 billion) at the maximum during the period of March-June 2019-20. In view of the changing position of the global trade they had been facing problems with their cash flow situation and need help and assistance from the government mainly in expediting the re-payments/ refunds due so that they could come out of this crisis and could resume their business as early as possible. The delegation presented a list of proposals to the Adviser Finance that could help them improve on their liquidity position and to run their businesses in the current situation when they are not expecting further orders and faster recoveries from their international buyers. The delegation apprised the government that they have decided not to lay off their daily wage staff in this difficult time.

Advisers to PM on Commerce and Textile and Austerity and Institutional Reforms were also present during the meeting. Sources informed that government is working on an incentives package for exporters, which would be announced on Tuesday. The government has assured the exporters to resolve all their problems.

Dr Hafeez Shaikh, while discussing each and every proposal in detail with the exporters, said: “I would like to make a statement here that the government has no desire or policy to keep the money even a day longer that belongs to the exporters and nor do we find any reason to delay the repayments.” We shall do whatever possible to ease out the exporters and committed to provide them relief with earlier repayments of export rebates/ duty drawback and GST refunds, he added. He said that the GST refunds will be cleared within March and export rebates will be granted within April. He further directed Secretary Finance and Chairperson FBR to hold meetings with the relevant stakeholders and provide relief to the export sector as much possible for the government. He appreciated the decision taken by APTMA not to lay off their labour in the time of crisis and advised them to take care of their workers as the government is taking care of them.