(May 27, 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 Monday said the sale of bleeding state-run enterprises alone can help the government reduce the deficit as per the demand of IMF. The government should not target poor but rich to reduce the deficit and enhance revenue while tax relaxations given to salaried class should not be withdrawn, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that tax should be reduced on SMEs, agriculture and retail sectors, as well as professionals, should be brought into the tax net and tax-to-GDP ratio should be increased from 10 percent to 18 percent through unpopular decisions.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that failed companies should not be allowed to waste two percent of the GDP which is whooping Rs 900 billion.
Opposing zero tax facility to the local aviation industry, he said that it will result in loss of Rs 10 billion while PIA will continue to bleed. The present government has thrown Rs 22 billion in this black hole with no result.
The former minister noted that Steel Mills is also wasting over two billion per months while railways are wasting over Rs 3.5 billion per month. Keeping failed companies afloat is a crime as masses pay its price.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that trade war between the US and China has compelled many companies to relocate which is an opportunity for Pakistan. He noted that the IMF’s package is insufficient but it will help Pakistan raise cheap loans from development banks and the international bond market. Revenue should be enhanced through targeting those who are responsible for the mess and masses should be spared, he demanded.
He said that the economic situation and the exchange rate is improving due to the supervision of IMF, refusal of the governor of SBP to bow down to business mafia and inflow of foreign exchange due to Eid. Exports must be increased by ten billion dollars to make the economy sustainable as playing with the exchange rate will not help the country overcome challenges, he said.