New export package on the cards

Govt to announce yet another export package, falls short on previous commitments

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ISLAMABAD: While only disbursing Rs25 billion out of the Rs180 billion promised under the Prime Minister’s export package 18 months back, the outgoing government in a bid to please the business community before the general elections, is planning to announce another export package ranging from R30 billion to Rs42 billion.

Sources familiar with the development told Pakistan Today that the prime minister is likely to announce yet another the export package in coming week as the concerned ministries have forwarded proposals to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi after a month-long discussion.

As per sources, the government is once again focusing on the textile sector as Rs42 billion is most likely to be embarked if the prime minister nods yes to the proposed package otherwise the is package is estimated to be around Rs28 billion.

However, the commerce ministry is mulling to include non-textile sectors in the proposed export package such as fans, auto parts, fruits and others, since the government had skipped these sectors in the last package worth Rs180 billion announced back in 2017.

The textile division had also proposed to include made ups portion of textile in proposed package.

Sources told that allegedly the PML-N led government wants to please exporters before the election, hence a second package is being announced.

It is worth mentioning here that exports have been growing after the government’s announcement to devalue the rupee up to 8 per cent.

Pakistan’s exports were recently recorded at $19.2 billion, which is $2.3 billion more than the first ten months of previous years, on the other hand, imports stand at $49.5 billion, which is $6.1 billion higher than the import bill booked during the first ten months of the last fiscal year.

The former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had announced the Rs180 billion export package in January 2017, the portion of the textile sector was worth around Rs160 billion, meanwhile, the rest was earmarked for non-textile sectors such as gloves, footballs, leather goods, footwear, surgical and cutlery.

However, sources informed that 18 months on the government has only disbursed Rs25 billion under the said scheme.

Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail in his budget wind-up speech had also announced that “we have decided to give a new export package to further boost exports which had been on the downside during the last few years and are now showing some growth subsequent to measures taken by the incumbent government as well as depreciation of the exchange rate.”

Moreover, independent experts are of the view that government has no moral authority to announce such a package as their tenure is going to end on May 31, 2018.

The incumbent government is focusing on the energy sector as it had released Rs150 billion to Independent Power Plants (IPPs) in recent months but while it failed to released funds for industry, claimed experts.

Interestingly, opposition parties including Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) have kept a relaxed approached as it has somewhat been easy on the current and the former finance ministers on economic matters.