Commerce ministry shows no intentions to announce the revised STPF

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ISLAMABAD: Despite the passage of five months, the draft of the revised Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) could not be finalised due to lack of interest in the ministry of commerce high ups.

Information available with Pakistan Today highlighted the fact that the ministry has not been able to finalise the revised STPF since the commerce secretary is focused on “quick response initiatives” such as Prime Minister Export Package and Expo Pakistan.

The official’s including commerce secretary had got appreciation from former prime minister after the announcement of PM export Package in January this year so they focused on such policy matters, sources further added that the response on revised STPF does not come immediately so nobody is paying heed to STPF.

Earlier, former commerce minister Khurram Dastagiar had instructed officials to revise the STPF 2015-18 because the announced policy had failed to enhance the country’s tumbling exports that resulted in a massive trade deficit.

Officials said that although the ministry had initiated the revision to the trade policy, however, the efforts were soon put on hold in view of the PM export package and 10th Expo Pakistan.

“The earlier proposed draft was mainly to revisit and improve the announced measure of trade policy and to disseminate the information of incentives so that the stakeholders could avail benefits at a large scale”, he added.

In STPF, the government had announced 20 per cent investment support up to a maximum of Rs 1 million per annum per company for import of new plant and machinery furthermore 50 per cent markup support on up-gradation of technology for import of new machinery or plant. In addition to this matching grant up to a maximum of Rs 5 million for specified plant and machinery or specified items to improve product design and encourage innovation in SMEs and export sectors of leather, pharmaceutical and fisheries were announced.

In order to increase the income of farmers, 50 per cent support on the cost of imported new plants and machinery for specified under-developed regions and 100 per cent mark-up support on the cost of imported new plant and machinery on throughout Pakistan was also announced.

In addition to this, it was announced in STPF 2015-18 that Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company (PHDEC) and the secretariat of the commerce ministry will be revamped. Furthermore, the Trade Dispute Resolution Organisation (TDRO), Services Trade Development Council, Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development, National Tariff Commission (NTC) and the Domestic Commerce Wing were also on the revamping list.

It was also announced that councils would be set up to promote the export of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and rice, but no steps have been taken in this regard.

Repeated attempts were made to contact the Commerce Secretary Younis Dhaga but he was not available for stance.

Whereas Commerce and Textile Minister Muhammad Pervaiz Malik while talking to Pakistan Today said that officials are working on revised STPF and it will be announced soon.