ISLAMABAD              -              The government has asked the exporter to take full advantage of these new opportunities as the west is slowly opening up in terms of economic activities.

“The west is slowly opening up and there are trickles of orders coming in. These orders are in different segments and would take us to where we were prior to the coronavirus. I’m appealing to our textile industry to take full advantage of these new opportunities to enter new segments and new geography. The govt will support you completely,” said Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood on Thursday.

Earlier, Pakistani exporters had faced setback 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.  Data of container traffic at Pakistan’s two major ports shows a sharp decline in export cargo handling since mid-March. This is consistent with the cancellation of export orders or requests to delay the shipments when the lockdown started in Europe.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s projection Pakistan’s exports are estimated to reduce by $1.86 billion to $23.732 billion during ongoing fiscal year (FY20). Similarly, imports are projected to decline by $4.64 billion to $48.291 billion during the present financial year. The reduction in imports would help in reducing the trade deficit of the country. The reduction in trade deficit would help in controlling the current account deficit.

In a bid to help the exporters, the government had announced Rs100 billion disbursements to the exporters in shape of refunds. In order to mitigate impact of outbreak of COVID-19, the Prime Minister has approved relief package i.e. Rs70 billion for refunds related to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Rs30 billion DLTL related to ministry of commerce. In another tweet, the Adviser announced that DLTL refunds of Rs828 million for non-textile sector have been transferred to State Bank of Pakistan. The reimbursement will start from today (Friday), he added.

Razak Dawood also said that the federal government has allowed export of textile masks. Export of masks will not apply to surgical and N95 masks, the Adviser said on his social media account.   The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) last week allowed the export of hand sanitisers and textile masks. On January 31, a ban was imposed on the export of face masks and hand gloves as a first precautionary measure and to ensure availability of “sufficient basic first aid material” due to the coronavirus pandemic.