KARACHI: Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Chief Executive S.M. Muneer on Tuesday urged the government to immediately release outstanding funds of exporters and help end the liquidity crunch which was resulting in negative growth in exports.

Addressing a seminar on ‘Enhancing Trade Benefits from GSP+’, he commented that even if the government has to print currency notes it should do so to payback around Rs200 billion duty drawback and sales tax refunds.

Some Rs25bn were cleared but still Rs80bn of the refund claims are stuck up with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and an equal amount with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), he said.

Immediately after Pak­istan was given GSP+ status, he said, India gave subsidy to its exporters in the range of 3 to 10 per cent to keep its exports competitive in the European market.

Gulzar Firoz, adviser of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on GSP+, said that the country has to implement conventions relating to human rights, environment and labour to capitalise on the opportunity.

In total, there are 27 conventions which have to be implemented to stay qualified for GSP+. Pakistan already a signatory to 18 conventions.

He said the first review is due by early next year for which industry has invested in improving standards.

“After the 18th Amendment, many subjects have been devolved to provinces but the lack of coordination between the federal and provincial governments complicates issues related to social compliance,” Firoz said.

He stressed on ensuring compliance of 27 conventions, adding that the facility may be withdrawn by the EU particularly when the burden of giving proof lies with Pakistan.

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