(August 12, 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 Friday said the economy of a country that spends equal to a quarter of its GDP on imports can never be stable.
There is a need to widen the tax net and further reduce imports, otherwise, the country will not be able to run without borrowing.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that Pakistan’s imports of goods and services in 2021-22 were ninety billion dollars which is almost equal to twenty-five percent of the GDP which is unsustainable and will result in a default sooner or later.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that Pakistan’s exports and remittances and direct investment are not equal to the imports which leads to a crisis after every two or three years.
It is impossible to break the begging bowl until the current account deficit is turned into a surplus on a permanent basis, he said.
The business leader said that the debt burden of the country can be reduced if the current account is surplus.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that 5280 megawatts of electricity can be generated from coal in Pakistan, of which seventy-five percent is generated from imported coal, while billions of tons of coal reserves in the country are not being put to use.
Similarly, the enormous hydropower potential is being ignored along with other renewable sources of electricity.
Railways are an important means of providing relief to the public in terms of fares, reducing business costs and reducing environmental pollution. Many countries of the world are now building railway networks, while Pakistan had an excellent railway network before independence, but it was destroyed to force the public and business community to use road transport.
Road transport benefited some elements, but the oil import bill increased therefore the government should try to restore the railways so that things can improve.
Mian Zahid Hussain further said that district-level gas companies may reduce the losses of billions of rupees.