Export of sugar and IT in focus

Editorial Jun, 15 2024
Export of sugar and IT in focus
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The case that the sugar industry was fighting with the government for the export of surplus sugar produced in the country has finally been settled, which has been given conditional permission to export one and a half lakh metric tons of sugar to foreign countries. Under the agreement between the government and the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association, stock availability and price stability will be ensured. There will be no increase in the price of sugar. Pending payments to farmers will be made on priority basis. The Sugar Advisory Board will review the prices and market stability in a fortnight. Future sugar export option will depend on price stability and stock availability in the country. According to the sources, the sugar ex-mills price will not be allowed to go above 140 rupees per kg, this decision should also be strictly implemented. During the caretaker regime, the price of sugar in the retail market had reached Rs 170 per kg, on which the Economic Coordination Committee had imposed a ban on the export of sugar. During the year 2023, the export of sugar was 2 lakh 15 thousand 75 tons, which was zero during 2022. The Sugar Mills Association had launched a regular campaign for the export of surplus sugar. The recent decision to export sugar is good in the sense that it will fetch valuable foreign exchange and will also remove the fear of the mill owners losing their surplus sugar. The decision regarding payments to farmers is also welcome.

Disputes between sugarcane price fixing mills owners and farmers and problems of non-payment are not new. This problem of farmers should be solved permanently. What the farmers grow after hard work is their source of income for the whole year.It is welcome to note that the IT sector has  grabed third place in the list of top export sectors of the country.

Last year, the earning from this sector were nearly $3 billion which is a remarkable achievement for the ailing economy. And most strikingly, the Gulf states like Saudi Arabia, the UAE  and also our close neighbour Iran have attrative  markets for our IT products.If the problems faced by the IT sector in the country are solved, its exports can be taken up to 15 to 20 billion dollars annually. Significant progress can be made towards making them economically independent.Financial experts say that the IT sector is of great importance as there are unlimited opportunities to increase exports in this sector but they say that it requires a huge investment on the line of the textile industry which is the backbone of our economy.

It is worth-mentioning here that our IT companies and freelancers have proved thier worth thorugh their good skills globally without much government support or assistance. However, now the need is being strongly felt to improve the  environment required for this very important sector and that can be attached by giving the status of full industry like the cotton or other manufacturing sectors.

In fact, one of the solutions to get the country out of the economic crisis is to increase exports. In this regard, the IT sector is very important because there are unlimited opportunities to increase exports in this sector and it does not require much investment like other productive sectors. But the irony is  that there is lack of continuity in the growth rate during the same period. The main cause  for this is the existing global economic environment and the inept policies of our successive governments, which have a direct bearing on the IT products. If we want to  earn a good  foreign exchange,  the IT sector should be given the status of a regular industry and the environment required for it should be improved. 

Meanwhile, optimism is in air as export sector has started showing signs of improvement and a latest report says that in the new government, Pakistan's exports to Afghanistan registered increase by 20.6% on an annual basis and by 12.5% on a monthly basis.Moreover, there was a huge decrease in imports from the neighborly country by 20.3% on an annual basis. However, our exports have substantially increased by over 20 percent and 12.5 percent on a monthly basis. It may be recalled here that our exports to Afghanistan in February 2024 were reported to have been $104 million and the same  were $97 million in March 2023.

Meanwhile, according to Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Pakistan has successfully completed its current program with the IMF, while its economic performance has also improved, but there are still many important issues to be resolved. Speaking at an event held at the Atlantic Council think tank, Kristalina Georgieva said that Pakistan's economy is performing well and foreign exchange reserves are increasing. Pakistan is determined to continue on the path of improvement and is approaching the International Monetary Fund for a follow-up programme. It is clear from the opinion expressed by the head of the IMF that positive prospects are emerging in the national economy. This is an event that could hardly have been expected in previous years – the country was on the brink of bankruptcy in the early months of 2021. An agreement was made with the IMF on such strict terms.However, today, the trend of improvement in the national economy is a fact whose concrete evidence is in front of the whole world in the form of economic assessments of prominent institutions like the United Nations, the World Bank, the IMF and the Asian Development Bank. The Pakistan Stock Exchange is at its highest in the country's history, foreign exchange reserves have increased significantly and dollar volatility has been curbed. This progress is definitely the result of the strict measures taken during the PDM and then the caretaker government which were indispensable to end the continuation of economic decline. Due to them, the people of the country had to face difficulties, but now the positive results of these decisions have started. In the annual report of the Asian Development Bank, it is said that the inflation in Pakistan is expected to decrease in the next fiscal year, the inflation rate will reach 15 percent while the growth rate of the next fiscal year is estimated to be 2.8 percent.

According to the report, if the reforms are implemented in Pakistan, the process of economic recovery will start from this year.

Published in The Daily National Courier, June, 15 2024

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NC Desk
NC Desk https://www.dailynationalcourier.com/author/nc-desk
Daily National Courier is a leading morning English newspaper of twelve pages covering all international and national political developments on 24/7 basis.

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