ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has announced an attractive package of incentives of Rs 180 billion to boost exports.

He made the announcement at a ceremony attended by members of the business community in Islamabad on Tuesday.

The package includes abolition of customs duty and sales tax on import of cotton. Similarly, customs duty on man-made fiber other than polyester and sales tax on import of textile machinery has also been abolished.

Under the package, duty draw back rates for textile garments would be 7%; textile made ups 6%; processed fabric 5%; yarn and grey fabric 4%; sports goods, leather and footwear 7%.

The PM expressed confidence that the package would help achieve the objective of export-led growth.

Nawaz Sharif said there were many challenges including terrorism, lawlessness, energy shortage, poverty and unemployment when the present government assumed power. He said his government took bold measures to brace these challenges and today an all-round improvement is visible.

He said dozens of power plants are being installed under CPEC and many others are being financed by the Government of Pakistan.

He said their objective is to ensure availability of cheaper electricity on sustainable basis. He said ten thousand megawatts would be added to the system by next year and thirty thousand within the next few years.

He said the government has decided to fund Bhasha Dam from its own resources which would generate 4500 MW of electricity.

He said Pakistan Railways is also being revamped and upgraded with an investment of eight billion dollars. He said the improvement plan envisages doubling the speed and halving the distance between Karachi and Peshawar.

The prime minister said a network of roads, highways and motorways is being laid at a cost of one thousand billion rupees integrating different regions of the country. He said interest rate is the lowest in the history of the country as part of the government’s efforts to facilitate investors.

The government had announced a package for agriculture and today a package for industry has been given, he said, adding that development of these sectors would help overcome problems like unemployment, ignorance and backwardness and put Pakistan on a fast track for progress.

In his speech, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the Prime Minister has accepted all demands of the business community.

He said the government is providing liberal incentives to the business community and it is now the responsibility of the exporters to increase exports significantly.

He asked them to ensure that exports are increased to 10% of the GDP.

Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir said that Pakistani exports had lost their competitiveness due to incentives by our competitors, complication in taxation and energy shortages.

He expressed confidence that with this package and improvement in law and order situation and energy situation, the exporters would show results.

The minister said Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) were being negotiated with Thailand and Turkey.

Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President Zubair Tufail expressed hope that 2017 and 2018 would prove to be “years of exports”. He said the country has achieved economic stability as a result of the measures taken by the present government during the last three years.

APTMA Chairman Aamer Fayyaz Sheikh thanked the Government for announcing a generous package of incentives and said that the business community would not disappoint the nation.