KARACHI - Strongly refuting the Government claims in the media “that exports have increased” Muhammad Jawed Bilwani, Chairman, Pakistan Apparel Forum and Chief Coordinator, Value Added Textile Forum said this was really a wrong impression given to the people and is merely “wishful thinking”.

Bilwani stated that “the ground facts are that the exports of all the major export-oriented goods had actually declined.

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics for the year 2014-15 as compared to 2013-14 “Overall exports have declined by approx. 5pc. Exports of Textile Group declined by 1.78pc; Food Group declined by 1.42pc; Petroleum group and coal by 18.82pc; Other manufacturing group declined by 17.58pc; Leather Tanned declined by 11.36pc; Leather goods declined by 4.74pc; Chemical and Pharmaceuticals declined by 16.49pc and Engineering goods declined by 30.64pc.

Bilwani stated that it was indeed a great irony that Pakistan is an agricultural country but even exports of food group declined by 1.42pc.

Bilwani wondered that when exports of major categories had declined considerably, the Government’s claim on the increasing exports is pure hogwash.

He further rued that if GSP Plus was not granted, the total exports of Pakistan would have faced a decline of approx. 21pc instead of 5pc as exports to regions other than EU also declined considerably. From the total exports of Pakistan to all countries, exports to Europe is 25pc and other than Europe is 75pc.

He further lamented that Pakistan is on the watch list of EU and with the recent hangings which is against EU 27 Conventions and further implementations of these 27 conventions by Pakistan, GSP Plus facility would most likely be withdrawn for Pakistan.

He feared that exports figures will be worst in forthcoming year 2015-16 as Sales Tax Rate has been increased by 50pc in the Budget 2015-16 which blocks the huge amount of liquidity of the exporters.

In view of the steep decline in exports, it is imperative that immense problems and hurdles be removed to pave the way for enhancing and boosting our nation’s exports in the best interests of the nation’s economy.