LAHORE: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would announce a special relief package for export-focused industries next week, said Federal Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan, as businessmen face crippling outages and higher production costs and find it difficult to compete in the global market.
Speaking to media persons after the opening session of the Pakistan Carpet Exhibition here on Tuesday, Khan said the package would reduce the cost of doing business, cut power tariff and slash domestic taxes in order to stop the decline in the country’s exports.
He, however, cautioned that industrialists should not expect electricity tariffs to be pushed down to levels that matched the tariffs in regional countries.
Talking specifically to the carpet industry, the minister pressed them to increasingly pay attention to value addition to their products as in its absence Pakistan could not boost its exports.
“The government will only facilitate those industrialists who are adding value to their products,” he declared. “We will not give subsidy to this industry, we, however, will make every effort to help them organise exhibitions and make their presence felt in global markets.”
According to Khan, trade fairs provide a significant opportunity for the exporters to enhance their brand and product visibility and promote new and existing products. The government had always been with the carpet industry and would try to assist it in holding exhibitions in order to paint a soft image of Pakistan, he said.
He was of the view that the carpet fair would facilitate entrepreneurs and business owners and provide an excellent opportunity for forging links in the areas of interest.
The exhibition could keep the economy on track because such events provided a platform for outlining the untapped potential of Pakistan and introducing its products in the world market, he added.
The minister gave the carpet industry assurances that the government would continue to work with it in an effort to make the business environment more export-friendly.
“We are determined to facilitate the hand-knotted carpet industry, resolve issues pertaining to free trade agreements, product development and research to enhance the trade volume.”
Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan Carpet Manufacturers and Exporters Association Chairman Kh Shakir said the country should arrange maximum number of exhibitions in the world to portray Pakistan’s soft image and persuade international buyers to import its handmade carpets.
Exhibition Committee Chairman Major Akhtar Cooki said this year’s fair was going to be the largest showcase of Pakistan’s handmade carpets