(November 13, 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 Wednesday said the economy is showing signs of stability while current account deficit has been reduced beating expectations which is a good sign. He said that the economy is improving but the middlemen have hijacked the price control mechanism which is causing unrest among masses which should be tackled on preference lest it becomes a political threat.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that following the opening of Kartarpur border, import of vegetables from India should be considered while export of onion to Bangladesh should be disallowed as it can increase price in the domestic market.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that IMF is satisfied over the progress of Pakistan and it is set to release another tranche which will enable the government to provide relief to some important sectors of the economy.
The former minister noted that the government is still facing challenges like privatization, circular debt, FATF grey listing, etc. which should be taken seriously. He said that forex reserves have improved to some extent while revenue collection has been increased despite a fall in customs duty due to import contraction.
He said that strict monetary policy has controlled inflation to some extent but policymakers should also consider growth to improve production and employment.
The veteran business leader said that LSM has witnessed 24 percent fall, while usage of petroleum products which fell 25 percent during the last year is now down by almost 15 percent which proves economic contraction.
He said that discouraging imports has also damaged the steel, iron, cement, beverages, food, electronics, chemical, textile, pharmaceutical and some other industries. There is no new investment while the private sector is avoiding costly borrowing, therefore, interest rates must be reduced despite the demand of the gas companies to increase the tariff of gas, he demanded.