KARACHI: Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, Industry and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood has emphasised that Pakistan will be able to cross its export target of $25 billion for the current fiscal year.
“We are pursuing a strategy of discouraging imports and encouraging exports; our struggle is to fetch dollars through higher exports,” Dawood said while addressing the fourth Pakistan Edible Oil Conference on Saturday.
At present, Pakistan faces a massive current account deficit which the government is striving to narrow down immediately.
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Elaborating, the adviser said the government was abandoning the policy of import, import and import and was opting for import substitution to push the economy forward.
He pointed out that though the government was targeting to raise exports, it was also eager to improve the lifestyle of people and was focused on that vision.
He stressed that economic improvement in a country would emerge only when the government and private sector joined hands, therefore, the government was promoting public-private partnership.
Citing low quality research and lack of research-based institutions as root causes of the present economic weakness, Dawood said Pakistan was unable to enhance its economy simply because it failed to introduce a research and development culture.
He revealed that China was extending a helping hand to assist Pakistan in boosting exports by $1 billion.
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“The government is involved in talks with China about export of Pakistani sugar and rice,” he said. “Just like previous governments sought China’s assistance for infrastructure projects, we are seeking its assistance for the agriculture sector.”
He lamented that Pakistan was importing cotton, describing it as a bad sign, as cotton yield at the farm level was inadequate.
“Our cotton seeds are not good enough which is why the country is forced to import,” he said. “Pakistan saw a sharp decline in cotton production last year, which nosedived from 15 million to 10.5 million bales.”
Saying that the government had neglected the edible oil sector, he pointed out that the country imported edible oil worth over $2 billion annually and “it is unacceptable”.