Private agencies can put exports on fast track: APBF

LAHORE: Executive Committee of All Pakistan Business Forum APBF has urged the government to take business community on board, who are the real stakeholders, in preparing policies to enhance exports so that fast widening trade deficit could be diminished, which is prerequisite for economic growth.

APBF Executive Committee, which met on Monday with its chairman Nabeel Hashmi in the chair and was attended by president Rashid Mehr, SVP Imtiaz Rastgar, Yaqoob Izhar, Munir Bana and Faisal Afreedi, suggested the relevant government departments to join heads with the private sector for finding out a methodology for increasing the exports of the country.

“International image building is the need of the hour with complete overhauling of TDAP, besides formation of new trade specific export promotion agencies having independent budgets and policies.” Hashmi, addressing the meeting said that though energy shortage and law and order kept the economy hostage during the last five years, the Punjab chief minister has a clear vision on the economic issues, which would help resolve their problems at the earliest.

Nabeel also asked the Sindh chief minister to make more efforts for bringing Karachi out of the law & order issue and boost the morale of the business community. He stated that business community has prepared recommendations to share with the policy makers to boost economic activities in the country saying the government should implement all their practical proposals without any delay. “Business community understands that the Punjab government is moving in the right direction and its seriousness on business issues will yield positive results,” Hashmi maintained.

APBF chairman urged the government that all stakeholders be taken on board while preparing industry related policies, and asserted that industrial estates be exempted from load shedding of gas and electricity to meet the
local market and export targets.

APBF Senior Vice President Mr. Imtiaz Rastgar asked the government to get input from the private sector on policies and encourage public private partnership to stimulate various government organizations. “We support partial privatization move of the PIA but also urge immediate decisions on restructuring or privatization of the steel mills. We also ask the
Government to consider privatizing TDAP and involve the sectorial associations to plan, manage and execute their own individual Export promotion programs. We believe that funds would be utilize more efficiently and professionally”

Imtiaz Rastgar also expressed concern over undue interference of Social Security Department, EOBI and Labour Departments and pointed out that tax refund claims were unduly delayed. Calling for establishment of more technical institutions, he said existing technical institutions were not competing the fast growing population of the country.

He said that APBF understands that law and order is a major cause of decline in local and foreign investment and if the government fails to respond to private sector’s call, the economy will continue to slide ultimately resulting in closure of industry and trade.

Munir Bana President Sindh chapter said that Small and Medium Enterprises should be promoted through a coordinated and tailored mechanism, as they have a key role to play in the economic turnaround. He said the development of local brands and human resource would be the prime areas for strengthening the SME sector that had been facing multiple challenges for the last five years.

Participants of the meeting said the government should also facilitate the exporters and implement all trade facilitations in letter and spirit enshrined in trade policies. Participants also expressed concern on delay by FBR in issuance of the relief package announced by the government. Widening the tax and overhauling its own machinery including corruption within its ranks.