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 the ongoing foreign exchange crisis in Pakistan is becoming more serious.
Domestic and foreign investors are worried and their confidence is decreasing because their LCs are not being opened and the goods at the port are not being cleared due to non-availability of foreign exchange and they are losing millions of rupees daily, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that due to this crisis, hundreds of containers are piled up at ports while importers are facing demurrage and detention charges.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the IMF’s ninth review has also been delayed adding to the uncertainty.
In this situation, Pakistan should try to arrange loans from IMF, Saudi Arabia, and China as soon as possible to save the country from further losses.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that our total annual income is sixty billion dollars while imports are 80 billion dollars and therefore it is impossible to run the country without borrowing.
He said that to achieve self-sufficiency we have to increase income and reduce imports for which economic policies have to be restructured for public welfare.
Productivity and exports in Pakistan are alarmingly low and we have no option but to increase them, he added.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the country’s problems, population, and loans are continuously increasing but the economy is falling instead of developing as improving the economy in the current system is a pipedream.
Our economic system is totally dependent on imports, so whenever the growth rate is more than four percent, the import bill becomes unaffordable, resulting in difficulty in payments.
If friendly countries do not provide loans, the country may become bankrupt and if loans are provided, it will last for a few months, after which new loans will have to be taken.
To improve this situation we have to make fundamental changes in our failed economic model, and shift to solar and wind energy immediately to reduce the import bill of petroleum products.
Instead of distributing 17 billion dollars or four thousand billion rupees to foreign farmers every year, we have to improve our country’s agriculture so that the country is self-sufficient in agriculture and the agricultural import bill can be eliminated.
The welfare of the people instead of the elite must be a priority and policies should be made so that investors are interested in productive sectors instead of non-productive sectors, which will increase production and exports and provide employment to the people.
The cost of production of the manufacturing sector has to be made competitive in the global market so that they are able to increase exports instead of concentrating on the local market.