ISLAMABAD-The government has feared that Pakistan’s exports may affect in the months to come with the world returning to lockdowns, amid Covid-19 resurgence.

“With the world returning to lockdowns, amid Covid-19 resurgence, the demand for our exports may also be affected. I appeal to the exporters to be vigilant and aggressive so that they may be able to sustain their presence in the global markets,” said Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood on twitter. He further said that Covid-19 is an unprecedented crisis in the recent human history with far-reaching implications to the global economy. “Recent figures by World Bank are showing that the pandemic has caused GDP contraction around the world, projecting that the major economies of the West, Japan, and South Korea etc. will post negative growth in GDP,” he added. 

Advisor said that the exports of Egypt, India, South Africa, Thailand and Malaysia have declined over previous year, while Bangladesh has managed to maintain slightly positive growth. “This may give rise to increased competition, & hence, our exporters need to be all the more aggressive. In this environment, if there are any procedural hurdles in logistics or at the port, please let ministry of commerce know so that timely action can be taken to avoid delays in meeting of orders,” he said. 

The data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics showed that Pakistan’s exports have gone down by 0.65 percent in the first quarter (July to September) of the current fiscal year mainly due to the Covid-19. The exports were recorded at $5.474 billion in July to September period of the year 2020-21 as compared to $5.510 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal year. The government lifted the ban on exports of seven products classified as personal protective equipment (PPE) in a bid to allow manufacturers to honour international orders. Exports are expected to recover in the coming months owing to resumption of economic activities in the top export destinations for Pakistani goods. The textile sector exports (63 percent share in total exports) increased by 2.9 percent in value over the last year. Value added exports (40.4 percent share in total exports) increased by 8.2 percent (value). The quantities of value-added exports have gone down in double digits. The higher unit price of the value added has provided some support to declining exports of textile.

The ministry of finance in its recent report noted that in the first quarter of the current fiscal year, both exports and imports have been recorded under their respective levels in the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal year. Climatologically circumstances may have played a role in the observed export and import activity.

In October, following the rebound in economic growth in Pakistan, imports may re-join their level recorded last fiscal year. On the other hand, it may be expected that exports will still lag somewhat since economic activity in most of the trading partners has not yet fully recovered. Exports of goods and services in October may come in at around $ 2.7 billion while imports may reach around $ 4.3 billion. As a consequence, the deficit in goods and services may remain roughly stable when compared to September 2020.