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January 13, 2017

LCCI urges PM to extend scope of export stimulus


January 13, 2017

LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to extend the scope of incentive package to all export-oriented sectors, while small and medium export-oriented industries should be given priority in this regard.

In a statement issued on Thursday, LCCI President Abdul Basit and Vice President Muhammad Nasir Hameed Khan said that the prime minister’s incentive package would go a long way and hopefully will boost exports by around $3 billion by the end of the ongoing financial year.  The package with the incentive for drawback on local taxes and levies and removal of Customs duty on basic raw materials at import level would considerably enhance the export volumes, the LCCI office-bearers added.  “[The] package, including removal of Customs duty on imports of cotton would greatly help the textile sector get rid of its miseries.” “Cotton textile production and apparel manufacturing are Pakistan's largest industries, accounting for around 66 percent of the merchandise exports and almost 40 percent of the employed labour force,” they said.

Cotton and cotton-based products account for 61 percent of export earnings of the country. The package will increase the competitiveness of Pakistani merchandise in the international market and also lower the cost of doing business.

The zero-rated export-oriented sectors would achieve the desired goals with the help of the incentive package and they would be able to enhance exports by at least 10 percent, they added. The LCCI office-bearers said that the same incentive package should be announced for all export-oriented industries to triple national exports within a short span of time.  Continuous decline in exports is a matter of concern, they said, adding that the volume of exports during July to December 2016 remained $9.912 billion that are 3.82 percent lower than the exports of $10.306 billion during the same period of 2015.

Despite having all ingredients for economic development performance in exports remained below the mark for the last couple of years, they said. Precious foreign exchange always helps any country economically excel; therefore, the government would have to provide maximum facilities to all the export-oriented industries.

Citing the example of food industry, the LCCI office-bearers said that the government’s support to this sector could help Pakistan become a leader in the international market.  This will not only help generate huge revenue for the government, but if all export-oriented industry is given bailout and incentive package, the economic benefits would be out of proportion. The LCCI office-bearers mentioned rice, fruits and vegetables, furniture, cement, tiles, marble, cutlery, electrical appliances, software, livestock meat, chicken, powdered milk, wheat, seafood and defence equipment sectors where a little attention of the government could do miracles.


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