KARACHI -  Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) Horticulture Exports head Ahmad Jawad has expressed concern over dwindling export which witnessed a 12 percent decrease from $23.6 billion to $20.8 billion in the fiscal year 2015-16.

Jawad said the exports of almost all the countries in South Asia are on the rise but unfortunately with Pakistan, the case is opposite. Quoting figures, he claimed that in the fiscal year 2015-16, the country’s exports witnessed a 12 percent decrease from $23.6 billion to $20.8 billion, which he said is an awkward and embarrassing situation for the country.

He said that according to the economic survey of Pakistan 2014–15, the country’s exports remained stagnant at $24–25b (and it actually decreased in the year 2016), while Bangladesh’s exports surpassed the $30b mark last year and is set to hit the $34b mark this year. He argued that the reasons for decreasing exports are the sluggish growth in the Pakistan’s major trading partners - UK, USA, and China - , high cost of production due to electricity shortfall and delays in order deliveries because of non-availability of energy inputs. Among the country’s major exports, rice, cotton, leather, jewelry and the chemical sector have been hit hard by the slump in exports, he said, adding that given the current scenario of the country’s dwindling exports, a strategy for bolstering them becomes imperative.

Similarly, he said, the country’s current export base is mostly limited to basic commodities which include textiles, leather and cotton, adding that the government should make a transition from these exports to more value added items in the global value supply chain.

Jawad mentioned the example of Bangladesh, which imports cotton from other countries, is now the fifth largest textile exporter in the world owing to its value added textile exports. “In Pakistan, data shows that the export of cotton yarn has been down by 32pc but the export of readymade garments has improved by around 4.2pc in the current fiscal year, which tells us about the importance of value addition,” he added.

He also said Philippines, which is a country half the population than Pakistan, has roughly $25 billion of exports in the global outsourcing industry (part of service sector), even Dubai earned $36.4 of foreign exchange through tourism in 2015.

Jawad urged the government to take more liberal view for export promotion rather than offering only the government backed loans like the youth loan scheme or offering just the policy incentives for export promotion.