Exports rose by 60.29 percent Y-o-Y in March 2021. No doubt, base effects pushed these figures, but at the same time the fact cannot be ignored that healthy demand conditions abroad contributed to this growth. Most of the major product groups of exports showed healthy growth in the month. While these figures are encouraging, the dangerous turn Covid-19 has taken recently is a big dampener, however. Exports and other industrial sectors need urgent support at this juncture.
A closer look at the March foreign trade data shows that 28 out of 30 major product groups defied all the odds during these difficult times and registered robust growth. It is also encouraging to see 61.75 percent growth in non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports. While these figures signal to further revival of the sector and the overall economy, it is, however, difficult to ignore the likely impact of the Covid-19 situation that has deteriorated further in the last few weeks.
In this situation, exporters are seeking urgent intervention of the Central government, at least over some long-pending issues, including immediate notification of the RoDTEP rates to remove uncertainty, announcement of the new FTP soon after September, adequate container availability, clarity on SEIS benefits, release of required funds for RoDTEP and MEIS, and creation of an Export Development Fund, etc. No doubt, these proposed measures could give a much-needed relief to the sector in these difficult times.