Trade: (Failure of exports to hit forex reserves)

March 19, 2016 Off By Web Desk

ISLAMABAD: Chairman of the United International Group Mian Shahid on Sunday said failure of exports sector can hit forex reserves and social sector.

Expressing concern over dipping exports, he said government and private sector should explore new markets for Pakistani products otherwise government will have no option but to cut social sector allocations as cost-cutting measure.

He said social spending includes money spent on basic education, health, post-school education and training, local development and social infrastructure and social protection. He said trade gap has ballooned to $15.1 billion in the first eight months of the current fiscal year which has raised concerns in relevant circles.

Imports have been reduced by 4.95 percent otherwise the gap would have been more that is a serious threat, he said. He said reasons behind dwindling exports include energy crisis, cost of doing business, taxation and refund problems and failure is to find new markets.

He said exporters typically point to the rising cost of doing business as the main reason, while more recent reports by economists have pointed towards an overvalued rupee and State Bank has pointed towards declining commodity prices.

He said LNG imports should be triggered, new terminals should be constructed and gas should be imported from Iran and Turkmenistan immediately.