Lahore : The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Tuesday took a strong exception to the historic trade deficit during the last eleven months and urged the Ministries of Finance and Commerce to take instantaneous measures to sustain balance between imports and exports.
LCCI Acting President Amjad Ali Jawa said that issue of trade deficit must be controlled immediately otherwise this important economic indicator would shatter the confidence of investors.
He said that Pakistan’s trade deficit has sharply swelled by around $30 billion or 42.12 percent during first eleven months of current fiscal year as compared to the deficit of $21.1 billion in the corresponding months of the last fiscal year. The widening of trade deficit is due to significant increase in imports by 20.6 percent to $48.53 billion during July – May 2016/2017 as compared to $40.25 billion in the same period of the last fiscal year. On the other hand, they said, exports came down by 3.13 percent to $18.54 billion during the period under review as against $19.14 billion in the same period of the last year.
The LCCI office-bearer said that rising imports and declining exports are developing a perception that Pakistan is becoming a trading place instead of a hub of industrialization. They said that apart from cutting the cost of doing business in Pakistan, the government would have to evolve a long-term strategy to make its products attractive in the global market to increase its exports.
He said that the growing trade deficit, led by sharp slow down in exports growth, is posing a key challenge to the macroeconomic stability of the country besides converting it into a Consumer Society. They said that galloping trade deficit might dent country’s debt payment capacity that ultimately would not be a happy sign for the overall economy. Jawa suggested that the concerned government quarters should join heads with the private sector for finding out a methodology for increasing the exports of the country that is a prerequisite to control trade deficit.
He said that to give a relief to the export-oriented sectors, major issues like huge delay in release of refunds, continuous power supply to the industrial sector, high input cost and large number of duties and taxes should be resolved on priority. Jawa said that Pakistani Mission abroad should also be given task to explore new markets and new buyers for Pakistani merchandise besides convincing foreign investors to invest in Pakistan.