Trade: (Unaltered export structure bringing economy down)

ISLAMABAD: Unaltered export structure and lack of value addition as well as innovation is bringing economy down, a business leader said here on Sunday.

Export sector should change its thinking and direction to remain competitive otherwise it will vanish putting survival of country at stake, said Mian Shahid, Chairman United International Group.

Talking to President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( ICCI) Atif Ikram Sheikh, Chief Coordinator UBG Malik Sohail and leader of the PVMA Iftikhar Khan, he said that government as well as private sector need to improve export structure.

He said energy crisis and issues relating to taxation and refunds has reduced competitiveness of export sector which kept exports stagnant for some years and now they are falling.

Export earnings are not enough to service debts therefore government need new loans to repay older ones and kept forex reserves at a respectable level which is not a good idea, he said.

He said that exports that were 25 billion dollars in 2013 are expected to come down to 20 billion dollars in the current fiscal. GSP has helped increase exports to EU by 21 percent but elsewhere Pakistan is retreating. India has increased its share in global exports from 0.43 percent to 1.7 percent in 30 years while Pakistan’s share remained at 0.15 percent in three decades which is disappointing.

Our export sector is focused on few markets, it has failed to find new avenues, and continue to export cotton, yearn, fabrics, leather and rice while ignoring innovation and value addition which is now threatening its survival. How a country can survive whose 55 percent exports are from cotton group, he asked.