The federal government’s decision to open the border with Iran for trade seven days a week was direly needed. Many sectors of the economy, particularly agriculture and transport, will earn revenue for the government. Similarly, people who make their earnings from these sectors will be able to earn some money when COVID-19 has brought entire economies to a standstill. What is encouraging is that Iran has also agreed to facilitate us in this regard.

However, the critical part will be ensuring that standard operating procedures (SOPs) are followed. Opening the border with Iran can be seen as a trial test for reopening of businesses and trade with other countries. Besides, the government can allow the export of other commodities alongside the mangoes that will be sent in large volumes across Taftan. Pakistan cannot afford closure of its borders for a very long time. The exercise will not only shrink the country’s economy, but it will also affect hundreds of thousands of households who depend on trade with other countries.

While the latest decision will surely provide some relief to the mango exporters, the government must also devise a strategy for our border with Afghanistan and how we can increase trade volume in the months to come. Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan must order the relevant authorities to design a plan in this regard.

COVID-19 has indeed turned the traditional ways of doing business upside down. However, if the government consults producers and manufacturers, the duo can keep the economy floating.

The biggest share of responsibility lies on the shoulders of the commerce and trade ministry, which must take note of the products that are in demand nowadays. In short, the government should adapt and improvise its export and trade strategy according to the requirements of the present time. These small but smart steps can keep the national exchequer full when it is proving difficult to do so otherwise.