When Chinese share in global trade is four percent and India’s 0.6 percent, Pakistan is nowhere in sight in the radar of international business, trade and investment. The country registered a record trade deficit of $32.6 billion during the last fiscal year in the wake of falling exports and increasing imports without a minutest stir in the official circles who matter. At the end, the government missed all of its targets set for the fiscal year 2016-17 ending June 30.The foreign exchange reserves, which propped up on the crutches of foreign loans, are crumbling and the current account deficit has put a question mark on the projections made by government at the time of presenting federal budget. The senior officials in the finance division, commerce and trade sectors as well as technocrats claiming laurels in their specific fields have failed to find a remedy, solution or panacea to streamline the ailing economy. Administrative failures, lack of interest and lethargy are the hallmark of the official machinery which enjoys hefty salaries, perks and all other comforts of life at taxpayers’ money. May be as a nation, we have failed to rid ourselves of the colonial legacies.
The global trade is gaining momentum in recent years. China, Malaysia, Vietnam and Turkey are the beneficiaries of global trade and they were able to devise policies according to news trends and trade. We need not only to rid ourselves of the colonial legacy but also monotony and lethargy. Pakistan has missions all over the world, but performance appraisal of commercial attachés never remained an issue in the official circles. The missions are more symbolic than having any practical utility. The government emphasis is often on the increase of export volume without prioritizing the exportable items. As a result, the people of this fifth largest country of the world are deprived of super quality fruit which is available in foreign lands at the cheapest rates. Sometime the rates are less than even the local market. On another note, the cottage and medium size industry of the country is the best performer, but export surplus is dumped in the local market.
We as a nation will have to work on two fronts. We have to look demand of goods not only in local but also in international markets. Due to disproportional increase in population, the defining moments are nearing and our policymakers will have to be proactive to launch prudent economic policies.