Jam Kamal Khan reiterates commitment to policy of business facilitation, export diversification

Total export of food and agriculture sectors expected to cross $7 billion in current financial year

KARACHI   -   Federal Commerce Minister Jam Kamal Khan, reiterating the government’s commitment to policy of facilitating trade and industry and export diversification on Monday, said that measures were being devised to promote local as well as export-oriented industries.

The commerce minister, while addressing a media briefing here at the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), said that the incumbent government was determined to bring institutional and structural reforms, resolve issues about energy and tariffs, enhance regional connectivity, and diversify exports for ensuring sustainable growth and stabilizing the economy. Jam Kamal said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has conducted several meetings with relevant ministries and stakeholders to deliberate upon a range of issues so that a comprehensive strategy could be framed to do away with all the challenges being faced by the business and industry in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, different high-level committees were also formed to look into matters like energy pricing, governance reforms, promoting coordination among all relevant ministries and stakeholders and coherence in policies and initiatives in detail and recommend solutions to the confronting challenges, he stated and informed that special committee on energy pricing mechanism was instructed by the PM to submit its recommendations after due consultation with business community within ten days. Highlighting the initiatives for promoting export diversification the minister said that positive results have been achieved from the Food and Agriculture exhibition, TDAP’s ‘Pakistan Trade Portal’, and other such steps, and the export volume of food and agriculture sectors has surged exponentially.

The total export of the food and agriculture sectors is expected to cross $7 billion in the current financial year on the back of a manifold increase in the export of rice, maize, sesame seed, and other agricultural products, Jam Kamal said, adding that by providing facilities to farmers and focusing on value addition of agriculture products we could further enhance the exports.

In the past, only one sector had remained in focus but now we are taking all the sectors along, he said and added that the textile sector, which constitutes the major portion of the country’s exports, was under stress and we are considering different options for the development of the sector. The commerce minister while shedding light on the recent visit of the Saudi business and investors’ delegation said that the visit facilitated broad-based business-to-business engagements and there were several agreements and memorandum of understanding in the process. On the other side government level negotiations with Saudi Arabia were also underway and we are optimistic about the positive results, he said, adding that a high-level official delegation of Saudi Arabia was expected in the coming days and significant progress was anticipated in agriculture, renewable energy, petroleum, mining and information technology sectors.

Pointing out some other major developments at the international level, he said that agreement with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries was in advanced stages while Pakistan was all set to participate in the International Trade Exhibition in Japan in 2025.

The minister said that the Tariff Board was vigorously working on its agenda aimed at promotion of export-oriented industries and safeguarding local manufacturing. Underscoring the role of domestic industry in employment generation, the minister said that the government wanted to take such measures which promote local industry. He also urged the domestic manufacturers to focus on increasing their exports besides productivity enhancement so that the country’s exports could be increased.

The minister while responding to a query on the wheat import issue said that the incumbent government had not taken any decision in the regard while the caretaker government had allowed the private sector to import wheat contrary to the previous practice of allowing only the state-owned entities to import for meeting our strategic needs. Investigation in the regard was underway to ascertain the facts and its findings will be shared with the public, he said adding that the government was committed to taking care of the interests of the farming community and ECC has not only decided to purchase wheat from the growers but procurement targets were enhanced as well.

Chief Executive TDAP, Zubair Motiwala, at the occasion, informed the media persons about various initiatives for bolstering exports and said that TDAP has launched the Pakistan Trade Portal that showcases more than 7000 products with all relevant details. He said that we are working on a ‘Look Africa’ policy to explore the untapped market of the African continent and we have focused primarily on South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, and Ethiopia.

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