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Businessmen express concern over $10.45 billion trade deficit

Businessmen express concern over $10.45 billion trade deficit

ISLAMABAD: Businessmen have shown great concerns over the rising trade deficit in a meeting held at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry. They called upon the government to take solid steps to facilitate the private sector in promoting trade and exports in order to overcome the trade deficit issue.
Addressing the meeting, Muhammad Shakeel Munir, acting president, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the trade deficit has surged to $10.45 billion during the first five months of the financial year 2014-15, showing an increase of over 34 per cent in the same period of last year. He said this state of affairs indicates that our exports are not growing well and he urged the government to take all necessary steps to address the key issues of exporters like energy, lack of infrastructure development, bureaucratic hurdles and institutional rigidities etc. in order to facilitate them in improving the country’s trade and exports.
He said govt has set annual exports target of $27b, but the record of first five months of the current fiscal years shows average monthly exports growth of just $1.984b, which is unsatisfactory by all standards. He warned that if this low growth trend of exports persisted, achieving the stipulated exports target would become more difficult and this situation would put more pressure on the country’s balance of payment leading to further rise in fiscal deficit. Shakeel Munir said that one good option to overcome rising trade deficit was to focus on strengthening inter-regional connectivity as it would create more business opportunities for Pakistan in the regional countries and help in enhancing trade regional. He said govt should also consider developing a comprehensive strategy to evolve the knowledge-based economy according to modern trends which would facilitate in enhancing trade with regional countries as well international world.
He said government should also provide necessary support to industry in improving production techniques, cutting down on wastages and should encourage clusters of small and medium size export units to bring down production cost as well as make exports globally competitive.
He said private sector should be helped in diversification of exports and producing high quality value added products, which would lead to taking a quantum leap in exports and reduce trade deficit.