Low growth, high inflation and unemployment expected in 2023. Further delay in reviving IMF programme termed suicidal. IMF against state control over dollar.


(December 21-2022)

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 Wednesday said the growth rate will remain low in the coming year while inflation and unemployment will increase.

Interest rates are likely to rise further in 2023, profits of many companies will decrease, many businesses will run on almost zero profit and many will bankrupt, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that in present circumstances, any further delay in reviving the IMF programme would be tantamount to suicide.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that at present the state of the country’s economy is critical and Pakistan also has to repay a huge amount of loans which has become a big problem.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar wants to bring the dollar to two hundred rupees, while the majority of economists are calling it impossible, he said.

The business leader said that the finance minister is not ready to leave the dollar unregulated at any cost because it will weaken the rupee and increase inflation in the country.

On the other hand, the IMF wants to remove all controls on the dollar which will push its value to Rs250 to 275 but this will also increase exports and remittances.

The dispute has led to a deadlock in talks between the government and the IMF, which is unnerving investors.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that the difference between the official price of the dollar and the open market rate has increased to 25 rupees, which is establishing a parallel market.

The present situation is a blessing for those who are involved in illegal hundi business while Pakistanis living abroad are also sending money through illegal channels due to which the remittances have decreased by 15% and the country’s problems are increasing.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that the IMF is pushing for reforms agreed upon in the agreement so that country’s financial position improves, the risk of bankruptcy can be avoided and the government does not have to borrow every two to three months but the government is worried about the public response.

Government is not able to make a firm decision due to fear but it should restore the IMF programme as soon as possible so that the IMF pays the tranche of the loan, after which friendly countries, other international organizations and investors will also start giving loans to Pakistan and things will improve temporarily.

If Pakistan’s debts are restructured and there are no reforms, soon Pakistan will have to face the current situation again.