General Asim Munir’s interest in economic matters is encouraging. Assurance of COAS has boosted investors’ confidence. Investment without reforms would be a mistake.

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(September-07-2023)

Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain said on Thursday that Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir’s interest in economic matters is encouraging.

His meeting with the business community leaders has boosted the morale of the businessmen and industrialists across the country, he added.

Mian Zahid Hussian said that the commitment of the COAS to improve the country’s economy and attract foreign investors is commendable, but the most important thing is the assurance of continuing the IMF programme and starting a new one.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the Army Chief is well aware that the IMF programme is indispensable and that the economy can be stabilised under the supervision of this international organisation, but it is impossible to increase the growth rate.

But the basis of the decision to boost the economy will not be cheap fame but better economic conditions in the country, he added.

The business leader said that the Army Chief is serious about bringing transparency to the value of the dollar, keeping an eye on currency traders and bringing them into the tax net, ending smuggling from Iran and Afghanistan, and increasing tax revenue.

COAS is also hopeful for investment of 100 billion dollars from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, and other countries through the Special Investment Council, and its implementation will greatly help stabilise the economy.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that if this investment is made, it will improve the country’s economic situation, stabilise the rupee, and solve the problem of a lack of foreign exchange.

He said that General Asim Munir’s opinion is correct that the annual expenditure of 1.3 trillion rupees on failed government institutions is counterproductive and it is better to sell them to save this capital, which is good and the business community has been waiting for it for a long time.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that investment alone cannot improve the situation unless structural reforms are made, for which the role of incompetent bureaucracy in important decisions must be eliminated.

These decisions can be effective only when political stability is ensured, anarchist politicians are disciplined, and terrorism is eradicated, he observed.

From 2005 to 2020, the country received sixty-two billion dollars in investments and loans, which have not been taken advantage of, and now we are again begging the IMF.

He noted that army chiefs have held many meetings with the business community before, but they did not yield any results, so it is the primary responsibility of all stakeholders to make this meeting fruitful.

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