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February 9, 2018

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Tehreek-e-Insaf leader calls for prudent export policy

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Asad Omar on Thursday called for a prudent and export oriented trade policy to deal with the serious economic issues of increasing trade deficit and unemployed youth.

Visiting the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) along with PTI Chairman Imran Khan, the leader industrial activities and exports would increase if power was provided to the industry at competitive rates.

Calling energy cost the most serious issue faced by the manufacturing sector of Pakistan, he said the difference between the cost and supply would have to be borne by the state.

“Import of LNG was necessary in view of gas shortages in the country,” he conceded, however, he expressed surprise that expensive RLNG was being supplied to the most productive sector of the economy, while low-priced domestic gas was made available to non-productive sectors.

“PTI has formulated a long term trade policy under which it aims to supply power at 7.5 US cents and RLNG at $6.5/mmbtu to the industries,” Asad Omar said, and added that the trade policy draft has been prepared in consultation with all stakeholders, particularly all subsectors in textiles.

About refunds, he said two options were under consideration. “The first is to disburse cash without any hassle and the other is to issue negotiable trade instrument.”

Omar said PTI firmly believes that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) should be fully independent in adjusting the currency in the most professional way. He said there should be no political interference in the operations of the central bank.

He regretted that the country lost its competitive advantage in cotton due to its low productivity, and said it happened because funds for research and development were not allocated.

The PTI leader urged for establishing a global standard accredited laboratory in the country. “It is very expensive for individual businesses to establish their testing facilities. For the government it would be an easy job and would serve the entire relevant sector,” he added.

PTI chairman Imran Khan said the economic potential of Pakistan was beyond imagination.

This potential, he added could only be exploited if the political leadership does not have any business interests.

He stressed that institutions in Pakistan should be strengthened. “FBR is not delivering because it has not been strengthened transparently,” he said.

Khan said if he came to power, FBR would be made an exemplary institution with power to nab the most influential tax defaulter.

Speaking of frequent amnesty schemes, he said it showed the weakness of FBR. He said the tax collector should have the capacity and capability to collect due taxes from all.

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