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Call for focusing on pharma industry to improve exports

Islamabad: Sheikh Amir Waheed, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry has said that pharmaceutical industry has the potential to earn billions of dollars foreign exchange for the country through exports and government should focus on resolving its key issues that would help in improving country’s exports.
He said despite decline in Pakistan’s exports during the last few years, exports of pharma industry have witnessed 26 percent growth during the last five years as our pharma exports increased from over US$ 169 billion in 2012-13 to US$ 213 billion in 2016-17. It showed that if government pay more attention to this industry, it could fetch billions of dollars through exports to the national exchequer.
Sheikh Amir Waheed said India’s pharmaceutical industry was earning over US$ 16 billion annual exports, but Pakistan’s pharma industry’s exports could not touch US$ 1 billion mark as yet despite the fact that this industry has huge scope to grow and improve country’s exports. He said that the pharma industry was importing 95 percent of raw material which was main hurdle in its way of better growth. He urged that the government should offer special incentives to investors in the coming budget for setting up industrial units to produce pharmaceutical raw material in the country that would go a long way in promoting exports of pharmaceutical products. He said government should also reduce duties and taxes on the import of pharma technology and machinery that would help in upgrading this important industry.
He said that government should consider allowing contract manufacturing to pharmaceutical companies that would give boost to foreign investment in this sector and promote exports.
He said that many foreign companies were interested for investment in pharmaceutical industry but the restrictions on contract manufacturing were the main hindrance in promoting FDI in this sector. He emphasized that government should reconsider restrictions on contract manufacturing in the best interest of the country.

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