Pakistan should aim to achieve sustainable export growth, as it is the only way to tackle the economic miseries of the country, said Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar.

Talking to members of the Pakistan Textile Exporters Association (PTEA) on Thursday, the minister lauded the efforts of exporters to achieve the highest ever exports, with 18.28% year-on-year growth, in the fiscal year 2020-21, despite the adverse impact of the Covid19 pandemic.

“Major economies worldwide shrank mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it was Pakistan that showed tremendous performance in the export sector,” he said, adding that regional economies like India and Bangladesh also remained under pressure due to the pandemic.

Regarding export refinance, he assured the PTEA members that the issue of insufficient allocation of the facility would be taken up with the finance ministry and the central bank.

He stressed the need to focus on diversification of exports and promotion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as these two areas could lead Pakistan towards economic prosperity.

“Textile industry is the backbone of the economy, and textile exporters are the key players in economic development of the country,” remarked Umar.

He underlined that remedial measures were being taken to overcome the challenges and uplift the textile sector.

“The government is eyeing to provide all possible facilities to the export sector, as it is playing a major role in bringing economic stability,” he said.

“No country can achieve economic targets without the due role of exporters,” he emphasised, adding that all-out efforts were underway to facilitate them on priority.

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On the occasion, PTEA Patron-in-Chief Khurram Mukhtar commended the efforts of Prime Minister Imran Khan to facilitate the export sector.

“Despite tight fiscal constraints, timely and appropriate policy measures taken by the government resulted in a V-shaped economic recovery,” he said and added that Pakistan could become an economic giant by exploiting its trade and investment potential.

Giving statistics, he told the meeting participants that the economy showed a strong rebound in fiscal year 2020-21 by posting a growth of 3.94%.

“It was not only substantially higher than the previous two years but also surpassed the target of 2.1% set for FY21,” he added.

Highlighting the issues, he underlined that outstanding tax refunds, insufficient allocation of export refinance facilities, logistic issues on account of cartelisation and poor infrastructure facilities in industrial zones were hampering the sustainable growth of the sector.

“Textile exporters are committed to achieving the $21 billion export target in the fiscal year 2021-22, as a vast range of global opportunities are emerging in the textile domain,” Mukhtar pointed out.

“It is time to support textile exports to fulfil Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of economic prosperity through enhanced exports,” he added.