The Pakistan Industrial and Traders Association Front chairman Mian Nauman Kabir has asked the government to focus on accelerating exports volumes and prioritize the trade issues with a view to achieve consistency in current account surplus, otherwise, the economic problems and balance of payment could further disturb. The PIAF chairman, in a joint statement along with vice chairman Javed Siddiqi, said the low exports volume and rising trade deficit were chronicle issues which should be resolved permanently. He said exportable items should be produced in accordance with the international demand to fully exploit the benefit of GSP-Plus status. He said that several industries and sectors were neglected in past. He said decisions should be made in national interest, keeping aside the personal agenda. Mian Nauman Kabir called for a holistic approach to speed up economic growth, as COVID-19 has adversely impacted the world’s economy as well as Pakistan’s trade and industrial sectors. The PIAF Chairman said the government has already missed its annual export target for the first two years. For the current fiscal year, the export target was reset at $27.7 billion, requiring at least 6 percent growth. He said the government has to formulate long-term and consistent policies for the revival of industry and considerable improvement in exports, as contrary to regional countries, Pakistan’s exports have remained stagnant during the past 40 years, and unless attention was paid to all factors that hamper industrial and exports growth, the country might not be able to achieve desired results. Some of the impediments to industrial growth include cost of production, poor governance, obsolete technology, lower productivity, lack of competitiveness, supply constraints, and energy issues. Mian Nauman Kabir said that the current export portfolio is marred by a lack of diversification, as few products are exported by some exporters to limited markets. So, a major enhancement in exports requires huge and wide structural reforms. PIAF vice chairman Javed Siddiqi said that in 2019-20, the LSM output had fallen alarmingly by 10.17 percent yearly. The industrial production after suffering months of damage inflicted by the corona pandemic is now clearly reflecting a revival in economic activities in the country. For the current fiscal year, the government had set the economic growth target at 2.1 percent, which will be better in the current economic situation but is not enough to create jobs for a growing population. Javed Siddiqi said that a quick turnaround can come from increasing competiveness of the existing export base and demand-led production of agricultural products, especially high value agriculture products. The long-term strategy needs structural reforms of the entire export sector, including high tech and innovative products, value-added exports commodities and market diversification towards unexplored markets like South America and Africa. It is to be noted that the recent current account surplus had emerged on the back of a sustained increase in remittances and a smaller trade deficit, as since the start of this fiscal year in July, the cumulative current account surplus has reached $1.2 billion, reversing the $1.4bn deficit recorded in the same period last year. He said that the country’s current account has been helped by a significant increase in remittances during the current fiscal year.