Trade: (Grave concern expressed over falling exports)

ISLAMABAD: Patron Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders Shahid Rasheed Butt on Wednesday expressed grave concern over falling exports terming it disastrous for the economy.

He said that no one is held responsible for the situation which amounts to encourage those who have played havoc with the economy. Speaking to the business community, he said that situation can be improved if merit is followed in all critical appointments in commerce ministry, TDAP and commercial counsellors.

He said that while textile and other exports including rice, leather, bed wear and others continue to fall a rise in the exports of raw material, especially cotton has been witnesses which can prove last nail in the coffin of shambling textile and value added sectors.

An ambitious export target of 50 billion dollars has been set in the proposed trade policy while the ground realities are otherwise as the graph of export is showing downward trend calling for immediate steps, he demanded.

Trade deficit in July is 34.62 percent more than the last year while annual trade deficit was recorded at 22 billion dollars for the last year despite receding oil prices which calls for immediate measures.

APTMA has anticipated fall of four billion dollars in exports while the situation of rice exports, he said, adding that dwindling exports will hurt everyone therefore government should immediately intervene.

The government needs to take better stock of the downward trend in exports because it is a key employment creator as well as an earner of foreign exchange, Butt said. He said exports are the only way to put economy on a sustainable footing; plugging external deficits through borrowing, privatisation receipts and remittances is not the answer.

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