Agriculture sector should be accorded top priority in devising new strategy for enhancement of exports, cabinet sub-committee on production and exports has decided.

“It was the general consensus of all the participants that agriculture was not only the mainstay of the national economy but also the basis of 90% exports of the country and hence agriculture sector should be accorded top priority when devising the strategy for enhancement of exports,” cabinet sub-committee on production and exports decided.

The first meeting of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Production and Exports was held Friday in the Ministry of Finance under the chairmanship of the Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar. The members of the Committee including Ministers for Commerce, Planning & Development, Industries and Production, Parliamentary Secretaries of Finance and Industries & Production attended the meeting. Governor SBP, Secretaries of Finance, Commerce, Petroleum, Water & Power, National Food Security and Research, Textiles and Chairman FBR were also present.

The finance minister in his opening remarks stated that the sub-committee was formed to accord greater attention to exports and related production sector. The Committee will enable an exclusive focus on these sectors to meet their special needs in the evolving global market conditions. The Finance Minister emphasized the member ministries to come with steps and measures, which could enhance exports in the short term, on one hand, and deepen the orientation of economy toward exports, on the other. He the short-terms measures should be prepared immediately while structural issues can be formulated with through broaden consultations within and outside the government.

The members appreciated the constitution of the committee and hoped that it will enable the government to undertake the required work for positioning the country to meet the challenges in these sectors. The Secretary Commerce presented the draft Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2015-18. The policy builds on the progress achieved during the previous two policies covering the period 2009-15. It covers all key areas of support needed to create exportable surplus and on pillars that would enable producers to achieve high export targets.

After extensive deliberations, the meeting advised the Ministry of Commerce to further refine the policy in the light of Committee’s discussion and complete the consultation process within the government expeditiously for early finalization of the policy.

The Committee also decided to hold its meetings fortnightly to ensure that the policies for production and export are formulated and their implementation is regularly monitored.