Businessmen concerned over revenue shortfall, increased borrowing. Import compression has damaged the economy beyond expectations. Import liberalization to promote economic activities.

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(February 03, 2020)

President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said business community is concerned over massive revenue shortfall and increasing debt burden.

The government can bridge the revenue gap through a mini-budget or rationalize the import tariff to boost economic activities which will generate revenue, he said.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that despite the best efforts of FBR, the revenue shortfall for seven months has jumped to Rs387 billion while the shortfall for January was Rs104billion.

He said that revenue cannot be enhanced in an unfavourable environment while highhandedness of the tax collectors takes a toll on the investment climate and lead to street protests.

The former minister noted that mini-budget will be counterproductive as masses cannot endure more burden while the business community cannot help the government bridge the shortfall.

Therefore, he said, the import regime should be relaxed to improve economic activities which will help generate additional revenue and jobs.

He said that the experiment of unnecessary compression in imports has failed as import reduction to the tune of one billion dollars results in revenue loss of Rs56 billion while losses of the business community and masses exceed it.

Depressing imports has left many businesses bankrupt, people jobless and banks with infected loans, therefore, it is time to liberalize imports to some extent, he added.

He noted that exports are not possible without imports. Vietnam exports remained 264 billion dollars during 2019 but it was backed by imports worth 253 billion while the surplus was about 11 billion dollars.

Vietnam’s smartphone and spare parts exports are over 51 billion dollars which should act as a wake up call for authorities.

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