KARACHI, Sep 22 (APP): Caretaker Federal Minster for Commerce, Industries and Production. Dr. Gohar Ejaz, Friday, stressed diversifying exports and enhancing the export of manufactured items so that targets of export enhancement could be achieved.
He, while addressing a press conference at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industries here, said that enhancement of export attracts foreign direct investment and the government was committed to increasing the volume of exports and various measures were being taken in this regard.
He pinpointed that a large chunk of Pakistan’s exports was comprised of textile and agricultural products but we have to diversify our exports and enhance the export of manufactured items.
Dr Ejaz further informed that arrangements were being made to organize a conference of the top 100 brands of the world in Pakistan and those would be offered special incentives to set up their business offices and units in the country.
The minister said that the government has set September 9 as the deadline for setting up business hours from 9 am to 6 pm but it was extended further while the complete data on electricity consumption by traders and shopping trends of consumers was sought from the chamber of commerce across the country.
The final decision would be made after reviewing all the available data and the interest of the people would be attached topmost priority while deciding the matter, he maintained.
The minister said that that after electricity thieves, a crackdown will soon be initiated against gas thieves from next week and no person or institution involved in gas theft will be spared.
Pakistan does not have natural gas in ample quantity and we have to go for a gas mix to meet our demands, he noted and urged the industrialist community of Sindh to realize the ground facts and adopt the option of 50-50 per cent natural gas and LNG ratio to keep their industries functional.
He said that the government was providing a subsidy of Rs.966 billion on electricity while a new policy of provision of electricity on wheeling charges that would benefit industries and they would be able to get power supply from Thar at the rate on par with a regional tariff that was 7 to 8 cents per unit.
Under the policy, the industries of Sindh and Punjab should buy electricity directly from Thar coal-based power plants and they do not have to pay various charges for it, he said adding that two Thar coal power plants were identified in this regard as well.
Speaking on the depreciation of the Rupee the minister said that the exchange rate of the dollar was quickly increasing in the past but SIFC took significant decisions in this regard and following the implementation of the committee’s decision the dollar rate has fallen significantly and today the real effective exchange rate in the country was Rs.260 against the US dollar.
He said that in the past when imports were banned to save dollars smuggling increased at a sharp pace and the volume of Afghanistan Transit Trade increased from $ 4 billion to $6 billion while trade with Iran also increased.
The minister said that the caretaker government has stopped smuggling, they will not allow the value of the dollar to increase further.
Appreciating the role of the business community in the development of the country, Gohar Ejaz said that he would maintain close coordination with the community and take every possible step to resolve their issues on priority.