ISLAMABAD: The government is all set to establish Land Port Authority to promote regional trade that would help enhance country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), propel exports and generate employment.
This was stated by Minister for Commerce Eng. Khurram Dastagir Khan and Minister for Textile Industry, Abbas Khan Afridi while addressing a joint press conference here at Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday afternoon.
Secretaries of Commerce and Textile Industry were also present on the occasion.
A Land Port Authority (LPA) Bill would be soon introduced in the National Assembly to provide legal framework for promotion of regional trade through land ports, Khurram Dastagir said.
He said that following the Prime Minister’s vision, land trade infrastructure will be improved on the modern scientific lines to help boost trade with neighboring countries.
Khurram said that during the first phase of improving land trade infrastructure, modern infrastructure, supported by Information Technology, would be created at Chaman, Turkham and Wagah borders to enhance land trade with these neighboring countries.
He said that this would prove to be a major step towards enhancing regional trade adding that it has been now proved through a long research that if you have to maintain GDP of 7-8 percent, the only way was to promote regional trade.
“Even we are receiving demands for opening up of Ghulam Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Monabao-Kokharapark borders in Sindh province”, he remarked.
He said that Pakistan wanted to learn more and follow those countries including our friendly countries like China and Malaysia which have developed their economies through promoting trade and enhanced their GDP rate to 7-8 percent.
The minister said that trade with India was actually in the interest of Pakistan.
He said that the government will also establish Export Import (EXIM) Bank by the end of this year to facilitate exports as well as importers and formalize trade in much better way for the interest of the country.
In this regard, he said State Bank of Pakistan was working on this initiative in consultation with Ministries of Finance, Commerce and Textile for the benefit of the country.
Eng. Khurram Dastagir Khan said that Concession regime through SROs are being phased out in three years while the process in this regard has been started in financial year budget 2014-15.
He said that government wanted to facilitate exporters to boost their exports of the country and in this regard Export Refinancing Rate for the exporters have been reduced from 9.4 percent to 7.5 percent almost 1.9 percent in the rate reduction.
Long term finance rate has also been reduced from 11.4 percent to 9 percent and would be affective from July 1, 2014 to facilitate exporters, he added.
The Minister for Commerce said that Export Development Fund (EDF) was being re-organized to facilitate export sector.
The Minister said that through EDF the government would provide opportunities to various exports sectors.
He said that outstanding arrears of the EDF from the Ministry of Finance would be received and utilized for efforts to enhance market for the country’s exports.
He said that ministry of Commerce and Textile have joined hands to overcome obstacles that have been hindering exports.
He said that the finance minister has announced several major steps in the finance bill (2014-15) aimed at promoting export industry.
Minister for Commerce Eng. Khurram Dastagir Khan and Minister for Textile Industry Abbas Khan Afridi appreciated the Finance Minister and government for announcing a number of incentives for promotion of Commerce and textile sectors of the country.