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CARBS Business Review

Domestic Commerce Policy of Pakistan: A Promising Step Towards Economic Growth

Dr. Sami Ullah Bajwa

05 May, 2023

Domestic Commerce Policy of PakistanA Promising Step Towards Economic Growth

Although domestic commerce has immense potential and significance in Pakistan, it has been largely neglected in policy making until recently. The government’s new Policy on Domestic Commerce is an admirable initiative in the right direction, especially given the prevailing economic crisis in the country. The policy outlines a scope that includes various modes of facilitation, resources provisions, and regulatory interventions for flourishing and sustainable domestic commerce activities. The policy rightly identifies transportation, warehousing, and information technology as critically important aspects.

 

It is commendable that the policy recognizes the interdependence of international and domestic commerce. A modern domestic commerce apparatus will bode well for international commerce as well. The domestic-international commerce nexus is also crucial because it highlights the vulnerability of domestic supply chains and prices to geopolitical happenings at regional and international levels. Accordingly, the policy rightly pinpoints that the policy framework for domestic commerce will dovetail with the WTO regime.

 

The policy sets a vision, mission, and twenty objectives to achieve in the long run. While these objectives are comprehensive in encapsulating various aspects of domestic commerce, some gaps remain. For example, recent estimates suggest that a massive 40% of Pakistan’s GDP is in the grey economy, which is informal, undocumented, and out of the tax net. This shadow economy could hinder reform efforts in the country. It is important to incorporate another objective in the policy that aims at addressing this issue in tandem with concerned departments and other policy and regulatory frameworks of the country.

 

Agriculture is key sector in country, which historically as well as recently, have turned out to be a source of conflicts among provinces. Difference in wheat support price and restriction on inter-provincial mobility of wheat often calls disagreements among provincial governments. Inclusion of agriculture sector among other identified sectors in the policy will be helpful in dealing with this issue and enhance robustness of policy and progression of domestic commerce.

 

Finally, while the implementation framework of the strategy identifies responsible stakeholders, effective implementation will require active collaborations and resource mobilization. Capacity building of the institutions responsible for the required role is also an essential consideration.

Dr. Sami Ullah Bajwa

Dr. Sami Ullah Bajwa

Dr Bajwa is Dean of the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences at Superior University. He has vast experience of working with government, international development agencies and academia

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Disclaimer

Please note that all opinions, views, statements, and facts conveyed in the article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of Chaudhry Abdul Rehman Business School (CARBS). CARBS assumes no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content. When interpreting and applying the information provided in the article, readers are advised to use their own discretion and judgement.

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