(08 March 2019)
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 Friday said that economic outlook of the country has improved significantly given to investment and industry friendly policies of PTI led government. In comparison to the last fiscal year current account deficit and trade deficit have been reduced by $ 2 billion and $ 1 billion respectively in the first seven months of the current fiscal year. Remittances of around $ 13 billion have so far received in this period which showed growth of 12 percent. Exports could increase by mere 2 percent while imports have declined by 5 percent despite rise of 1.75 percent in interest rate. Given to reduction in government development expenditure and completion of some CPEC projects, imports on non energy sector has reduced by 19 percent but increased energy sector imports have leveled the difference.
The Veteran Business Leader while talking to the business community said that LSM growth is just 1.7 percent in the current fiscal year while it was 9.9 percent in the previous year. Lifting ban on vehicles of up to 1300 CC for non filers will improve LSM growth rate.
The Former Minister said that reduction in utilities tariff, duties on import of raw materials and issuance of promissory bond to clear refunds of exporters will help in promoting the export sector of the Country. Growth of livestock sector is vital for overall growth of agriculture sector. Reduction of Rs. 200 per beg of fertilizer will improve agricultural productivity.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that economic packages from friendly countries like KSA, UAE and China have reduced burden on foreign exchange reserves and help in curbing economic uncertainty in the Country, however, foreign direct investment in the current fiscal year is around $1.45 billion which 19 percent less than that of previous year. The planned investment of friendly countries like KSA, UAE, China, Malaysia and Turkey will improve employment, living standard, exports and per capita income and will help growing various sectors of economy including renewable energy, hospitality, tourism, etc. Overseas Pakistanis will invest more through Pakistan Banao Cerificate and $1 billion investment is expected till June 2019 via this scheme. Foreign reserves are still under pressure to strengthen the Country’s economy, it is vital to take further practical measures in consultation with business community.