ISLAMABAD - A parliamentary committee on Wednesday noted that the government is not implementing Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF 2015-18), which was supposed to enhance the country’s tumbling exports.

The Senate Standing Committee on Commerce, which met under the chair of Shibli Faraz, has observed that Pakistan’s exports are drastically declining from last couple of years. Pakistan’s exports had tumbled by 3.06 percent to $15.1 billion in nine months (July-March) of the current fiscal year from $15.6 billion of the same period of the previous year. However, the government is not implementing the STPF, which was announced to increase exports.

The committee noted that the country’s trade imbalance is also widening due to the massive decline in exports. It has proposed the government to allocate funds in the upcoming budget for next financial year 2017-18 to implement three years STPF.

Shibli said that the government is importing food commodities worth of more than $1 billion despite Pakistan is an agricultural country. He said the government is not giving importance to the agriculture sector. “Exports of agriculture can enhance if the government gives due importance to this sector,” he noted.

The Ministry of Commerce informed the parliamentary committee that the government would hold midterm review of the STPF to know the reasons of declining exports. “The review will be completed within two months,” said an official of the ministry.

The committee also expressed displeasure on the performance of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), which failed to enhance the exports of the country. The committee recommended the government to devise a strategy to make TDAP functional with consultation of all stakeholders. The members of committee said that there is need to revise the TDAP act.

The Ministry of Commerce informed the committee that EXIM bank would be functional by the end of December 2017. The State Bank of Pakistan had released Rs7 billion for the bank. The official of the ministry said that they had moved three names to the Ministry of Finance for the board of EXIM bank. The committee summoned the officials of the Ministry of Finance in next meeting to get briefing on EXIM bank.

The committee was informed that the ministry has set up a desk on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects. The Ministry of Commerce is in touch with Board of Investment for establishing industrial zones under CPEC in different cities.