KARACHI: The Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir has decided to replace the commercial attaché in Saudi Arabia, who according to rice exporters was not adequately performing his professional duties.
The Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan (REAP) had earlier criticised the performance of the commercial attaché, saying that the official was not doing enough to help Pakistani exporters.
“Pakistan’s rice exports are already declining in Saudi Arabia; on top of it the unprofessional attitude of the commercial attaché created unnecessary problems,” said the REAP Chairman Chaudhry Muhammad Shafique.
“It is our aim to take the country’s rice exports to $4 billion from the current $2.5 billion, but such attachés make such targets unachievable,” stated REAP in a press release.
The association hoped the new commercial attaché would take his job “seriously” and do everything to support Pakistan’s exports in Saudi Arabia.
REAP had demanded the commerce minister to remove Waseem Hayat Bajwa, the commercial attaché in Saudi Arabia, for his unprofessional attitude, obstinacy and indifference.
A large delegation of REAP and the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) failed to visit Saudi Arabia last year because Bajwa was unable to get visa letters on time.
Since he took charge, the commerce minister has been under pressure from exporters to replace all commercial attachés, especially in crucial markets.
According to exporters, many attachés are political appointees. “Their performance is unsatisfactory and that is why Pakistan’s products have not marketed properly in recent years.”
The Ministry of Commerce, however, has only been been able to finalise new officials after a gap of two and a half years. “The new batch of over 30 new commercial attachés will be dispatched in the next two to three months,” said Dastgir, replying to a question during his press conference.
Explaining reasons for the long delay, he said, “The attachés had to be selected through a rigorous process to meet the requirements of the job i.e. to market Pakistan’s products in different countries.”
Source: The Express Tribune