De­press­ing de­cline in ex­ports

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -

Wbeen HILST the tar­get of en­hanc­ing ex­ports to $35b in two years has

set in the new trade pol­icy, it is both de­press­ing and wor­ri­some that the cur­rent ex­port pat­terns are run­ning in the re­verse — a sit­u­a­tion that de­mands ur­gent steps from quar­ters con­cerned to put things in the right or­der. Ac­cord­ing to the sta­tis­tics re­leased by All Pak­istan Busi­ness Fo­rum, there has been a re­duc­tion of $2b in the value of coun­try’s ex­ports over the past two and a half years.

As far as we re­mem­ber the coun­try’s ex­ports had touched $25b mark in 2013 but since then these have been stag­nant or wit­nessed de­cline. No doubt one of the rea­sons is fall­ing prices of com­modi­ties in the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket that is also of­ten re­ferred to by gov­ern­ment func­tionar­ies, yet we feel that present po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment is not at all con­ducive to keep econ­omy and ex­ports on the right track. Take for in­stance en­ergy short­ages as well as new taxes that the au­thor­i­ties im­posed hap­haz­ardly with­out re­al­is­ing its ef­fects on the econ­omy. Dur­ing win­ter, round the clock power sup­ply was ensured to the in­dus­tries but with the ad­vent of sum­mer sea­son, the in­dus­try is again fac­ing power out­ages which im­pacts pro­duc­tion and ul­ti­mately lead to re­duc­tion in ex­ports. Along with this, our mar­kets are flooded with range of for­eign con­sumer items, which has greatly hurt pro­duc­tion of lo­cal in­dus­try. Re­gret­tably, the focus of our po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship and me­dia is not econ­omy but Panama pa­pers, long marches, sit-ins and so on and so forth. We there­fore would urge gov­ern­ment and other stake­hold­ers to evolve an ex­port ori­ented na­tional nar­ra­tive in or­der to en­sure sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment. While ap­pre­ci­at­ing All Pak­istan Busi­ness Fo­rum for high­light­ing ma­jor eco­nomic is­sues, we urge it to keep a watch on the de­clin­ing ex­ports and sug­gest re­me­dial mea­sures to gov­ern­ment func­tionar­ies to ar­rest this trend at the ear­li­est.

MOST tales one comes across of­ten are fishy. Some, to be sure, are more fishy than oth­ers, but fishy nev­er­the­less. One was look­ing through the archives of the past few years when one came across a fishy tale of im­mense pro­por­tions re­vealed by the New York Times and em­a­nat­ing from China of all places. One craves the in­dul­gence of the gen­tle reader to go over some of the de­tails.

The tale, then, goes some­thing like this. It ap­pears that for years on end ma­rine sci­en­tists had been rais­ing the alarm that far too much fish was be­ing caught from the world’s oceans and call­ing for dras­tic mea­sures to curb “wide-spread over-fish­ing”. The re­ported global yield of ma­rine fish­eries con­tin­ued to rise dur­ing the decade of 1990s, mainly due to the sta­tis­tics pro­vided by China. There ap­peared to be a catch in this. Ac­cord­ing to the New York Times, ev­i­dence sur­fac­ing in the 2000s re­vealed that there had been “sub­stan­tial over-re­port­ing” dur­ing the 1990s, that too mainly by China.

What hap­pened was that, un­der the sys­tem of match­ing re­sult with plan, the same set of bu­reau­crats was re­spon­si­ble for not only count­ing the catch

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