The overall export business environment has to be improved: Mian Zahid Hussain.

Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain said on Monday that strengthening the value of the rupee makes exports difficult while making imports cheaper.

A strengthened currency reduces exports and increases imports, which drain the forex reserves, and the country has to borrow, which burdens 240 million people in the country, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the value of the rupee and dollar must not be controlled to boost exports and remittances—efforts to maintain the value of currency reduced textile exports by $2.8 billion in 2023.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that non-textile exports, which were 12.46 billion dollars in 2022, fell to 11.23 billion dollars in 2023.

He said that improving the overall business environment will also be necessary to increase exports by looking at energy prices and uninterrupted supply, access to capital, tax refunds, import restrictions, competition, the supply chain, and implementing positive policies.

The business leader said it has become impossible for the business community to increase production and exports by borrowing at a 22 percent interest rate. At the same time, exporters cannot invest due to refund delays, a major obstacle to increasing exports.

Mian Zahid Hussain added that the textile policies made since 2014 have yet to be fully implemented, affecting investors’ confidence and exports.

If the textile policy had been fully implemented, it would have been possible to increase textile exports by 25% per year. Under the State Bank’s Temporary Economic Refinance Facility (TERF) scheme, an investment of three hundred billion rupees was made in the country at a very low mark-up, which increased exports by 5 to 6 billion dollars. Still, due to the non-supply of gas and electricity, their rising prices, and other problems, this investment could not be taken advantage of.

The energy price should be at par with the other countries in the region; otherwise, investments would be lost, and many people would become unemployed.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that the textile mills located in Punjab and Sindh are getting gas at different prices, due to which many problems are arising, but despite the claims for years, this problem still needs to be solved.

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