July 01, 2020: The World Bank has said that Pakistan is not immune to the economic shock caused by the coronavirus and its exports have been hit hard, as the country recorded $1.39 billion in merchandise exports in May 2020, down 34% compared to the same period in 2019.
World Bank Senior Economist Gonzalo Varela, in an online interactive session with members of the All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF), noted that “every crisis presents an opportunity, whereas Covid-19 has provided the world and Pakistan with an opportunity to initiate structural reforms in institutions”.
The APBF arranged the meeting in order to discuss the current economic situation in Pakistan and come up with some key steps to revive and sustain economic growth during the post-corona slowdown.
“At such a time, exports are crucial to Pakistan’s recovery because they are labor-intensive and provide plenty of good jobs for Pakistanis,” he added. Varela stressed the need for protecting exporters through smart export promotion, whereas structural reforms were going to be crucial for the recovery. He maintained that the government needed to take action to help speed up export recovery by making it competitive through lifting barriers to exports, including easing up import restrictions. “Firms need to import to export successfully,” he emphasized.
APBF President Syed Maaz Mahmood, on the occasion, appreciated the debt relief measures taken by G20 countries, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank for developing countries including Pakistan.