Decision to keep oil prices unchanged contradicts ground realities. Removal of oil, gas and electricity subsidies is necessary to save the country. Delays in inevitable decisions do not benefit economy.

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(May 16, 2022)

Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said complete elimination of oil, gas and electricity subsidies is necessary to save the country.

The government’s decision to keep the price of oil unchanged is a political move in the context of the current political situation in the country, which contradicts the ground realities, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that delaying unavoidable decisions is hurting the economy.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that if the price of oil is to be maintained then why time is being wasted by starting a new round of negotiations with the IMF on 18th May.

He said that it was necessary for the government to cut development and non-development expenditure, privatize the failed government agencies while tax measures including reversal of several billion rupees of exemptions were also required to increase revenue without which the IMF would not be satisfied.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that in the present situation the government would not be able to take needed loans from commercial banks for a long time and if the troubled commercial banks refused to give more loans then economic catastrophe would be unavoidable.

Elimination of oil, gas and electricity subsidies would increase inflation but if action was delayed, the economy would go bankrupt and inflation would skyrocket while the country would fall victim to unrest and civil war.

To make unpopular decisions in these circumstances, the government has to stake its political future and this will only be possible if the coalition government has the full support of partners and influential circles to control law and order, he said.

If the required support is not forthcoming, the government will prefer to go for fresh elections instead of making difficult decisions.

It will prefer to leave tough decisions to the caretaker government, which will keep the country’s economy without direction.

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