MINCOM needs to work hard on the currency swap agreements


KARACHI: Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) urged federal commerce minister Engineer Khurram Dastagir to ensure the trade policy is well aligned and comprehensive to include and promote barter trade, currency swaps, border trade and measures to curb increasing transaction cost.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver invited the attention of the federal minister to the proposals submitted by UNISAME through the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) and reminded him of the importance of the ministry’s best consideration for the proposals from the majority sector.

Thaver pointed out that the ministry of commerce ( MINCOM) cannot afford to ignore the barter trade in view of the changing global practices and the crisis being faced by the commodities market. Many industries of rice, wheat, maize, spices, food processing, and cotton ginning have closed down due to the global commodities crisis. MINCOM also needs to facilitate third country trading whereby Pakistani entrepreneurs could secure orders of goods manufactured by other countries and sell them to their customers in another country. The entrepreneurs need the facility of switching the bill of lading and opening back to back letter of credit. There is no gateway facility for e-Commerce and the opening of merchant account and its maintenance is very high in Pakistan as only very few banks are offering this facility in Pakistan.

Secondly the MINCOM needs to work hard on the currency swap agreements with the neighbouring friendly countries to promote handsome trade. Thirdly the MINCOM needs to facilitate the border trade to puncture the benefits of smuggling. Fourthly the transaction cost has become unaffordable due to the advising, discounting and negotiation charges of banks and documentation charges of shipping companies. Even the courier charges are beyond comprehension.

Fifthly the role of the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TDAP) and the Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) must be revisited and reinforced on modern lines. The TDAP needs to set up the SME export house with complete infrastructure to promote the export of wares of the sector. UNISAME had earlier recommended to MINCOM to make doing business easy and implement the one window operation in letter and spirit. Needless to say the overseas Pakistanis and foreign investors are looking forward to incentives and tax exemptions for innovative and import substitution industries besides agro based industries.

Now that the law and order situation has improved and the government is endeavouring to improve the energy supplies with alternate energy especially the solar programme, the investors are inclined to invest in Pakistan to set up industries and effort must be made to facilitate them.