Monday June 17, 2024

Govt pledges to rev up trade, industry growth with new policy measures

May 14, 2024
Containers are loaded onto trucks at the seaport terminal DIT Duisburg Intermodal Terminal at the Duisburg harbour, on July 13, 2023. — AFP
Containers are loaded onto trucks at the seaport terminal DIT Duisburg Intermodal Terminal at the Duisburg harbour, on July 13, 2023. — AFP

KARACHI: The Commerce Minister, Jam Kamal Khan, reiterated the government's commitment to facilitating trade and industry and export diversification on Monday, saying measures were being devised to promote local as well as export-oriented industries.

The minister, while addressing a media briefing at the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), said that the incumbent government was determined to bring institutional and structural reforms, resolve issues regarding energy and tariffs, enhance regional connectivity, and diversify exports to ensure sustainable growth and stabilize the economy.

Jam Kamal said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had conducted several meetings with relevant ministries and stakeholders to deliberate upon a range of issues so that a comprehensive strategy could be framed to address all the challenges being faced by the business and industry in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, different high-level committees have also been formed to look into matters like energy pricing, governance reforms, promoting coordination among all relevant ministries and stakeholders, and ensuring coherence in policies and initiatives in detail and to recommend solutions to the confronting challenges, he stated and informed that a special committee on the energy pricing mechanism was instructed by the PM to submit its recommendations after due consultation with the business community within ten days.

Highlighting the initiatives for promoting export diversification, the minister said that positive results had been achieved from the Food and Agriculture exhibition, TDAP's 'Pakistan Trade Portal', and other such steps, and the export volume of food and agriculture sectors had surged exponentially.

The total export of the food and agriculture sectors is expected to cross $7 billion in the current financial year, backed by a manifold increase in the export of rice, maize, sesame seed, and other agricultural products, Jam Kamal said, adding that by providing facilities to farmers and focusing on value addition of agriculture products, we could further enhance the exports.

In the past, only one sector remained in focus, but now we are taking all the sectors along, he said, and added that the textile sector, which constitutes the major portion of the country's exports, was under stress, and we are considering different options for the development of the sector.

The commerce minister, while shedding light on the recent visit of the Saudi business and investors' delegation, said that the visit facilitated broad-based business-to-business engagements, and there were several agreements and memoranda of understanding in the process.

On the other side, government-level negotiations with Saudi Arabia were also underway, and we are optimistic about the positive results, he said, adding that a high-level official delegation from Saudi Arabia was expected in the coming days and significant progress was anticipated in agriculture, renewable energy, petroleum, mining, and information technology sectors.

Pointing out some other major developments at the international level, he said that an agreement with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries was in advanced stages, while Pakistan was all set to participate in the International Trade Exhibition in Japan in 2025.

The minister said that the Tariff Board was vigorously working on its agenda aimed at the promotion of export-oriented industries and at safeguarding local manufacturing. Underscoring the role of domestic industry in employment generation, the minister said that the government wanted to take such measures as would promote local industry.He also urged domestic manufacturers to focus on increasing their exports in addition to productivity enhancement so that the country's exports could be increased.