According to newspaper reports, Pakistan’s exports remain $11.685 billion in seven months of the current fiscal year and economists doubt the export package announced by the prime minister will work in the present not conducive business environment in the country. When Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif took the reign of the government in 2013, the country’s exports reached over $25 billion, at least 1.1 percent up than 2012. However, the exports for the financial year 2015-16 stood at nearly $22 billion, showing a decline of $3 billion since 2013. This shows the true picture of the government performance during the last three years. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is praising the economic development in a situation where the government targets still have to be realized. No doubt the government has achievements to its credit in some economic sectors as it has successfully contained inflation at the lowest level, achieved financial stability and maintained foreign exchange reserves at comfort level. However, the government has ignored the business, trade and industry which are the vital sectors of the economy. Despite achieving the GSP Plus status from the European Union in December 2013, it could not show good performance in the export sector.
According to experts, environment is equally important as are financial incentives. In some cases, only environment is enough to bring local and foreign investment in business and industry. The industry not only needs cheap and uninterrupted electricity supply, but also minimum interference of the government officials in the business. When action is taken against an entrepreneur, it brings more harm than any good to the economy as it sends wrong signals to other investors. The government authority must not be misused and that is the basic point to be taken into account. Some experts doubt the export package will actually work to increase exports. If commonsense prevails, the only way to improve exports is to allow industry to work independently without any interference. By putting pressure, the government may increase its revenue collections but has to pay bigger price in the form of recession. Let the corporate sector work on its own without any interference and it will increase the productivity of the country at the highest level. Some may argue that it should not be given a free hand, but experiences show that the progress made in developed economies is due to free hand given to the corporate sector. Despite all odds and evils, it is the only way to move forward.
It is hoped that the government will not only be able to increase exports, but will also enhance its tax revenues by expanding the tax net.