President of the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI), Faraz-ur-Rehman, has expressed deep concerns regarding the significant foreign exchange expenditure on the import of printing materials, books, and copies. In a recent statement, he emphasized the alarming rate at which foreign exchange is being depleted and called for immediate action to rectify the situation.
Mr. Rehman underscored that instead of spending billions of dollars on importing these goods, the nation could potentially earn a substantial sum. He attributed this crisis to inadequate planning and a lack of proper management.
Highlighting a critical issue, he asserted that the United Nations’ Florence Agreement is being exploited by opportunistic individuals and local industries, which are obtaining duty exemptions for importing book printing paper from abroad. He criticized the misuse of the agreement, emphasizing that its original purpose was to promote the professional use of books in modern sciences rather than facilitating the unrestricted sale of imported books in the commercial trade market. Such practices, he argued, not only undermine the agreement but also amount to tax evasion, ultimately resulting in the loss of the agreement’s intended benefits.
President KATI urged the government, particularly customs officials, to take immediate notice of these detrimental actions that are harming the local industries. He emphasized that addressing these issues could potentially generate employment opportunities for more than one million people through the local industry.
Mr. Rehman further noted that the global market for printing materials and related products exceeded a staggering $980 billion. Pakistan, with its more than 15,000 printing companies, possesses the potential to contribute significantly to foreign exchange earnings and foster a robust economy.
Regarding the import of textbooks, which currently amounts to $100 million, Mr. Rehman criticized the deliberate destruction of the local industry. He called on the government to prioritize local industrial development over unnecessary imports, emphasizing that this approach would not only conserve foreign exchange but also stimulate economic growth.
In conclusion, President Faraz-ur-Rehman’s concerns highlight the urgent need for comprehensive planning and policy adjustments to protect local industries, conserve foreign exchange, and promote sustainable economic development in Pakistan.