(June 06, 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 Monday said our economy is not productive due to continuous neglect of the industrial sector and continued patronage of non-productive sectors.
Pakistan has become a trading economy that can never function without loans as industrialization has been discouraged for decades, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that in the forthcoming budget, relief should be provided to the industrial sector and SMEs so as to accelerate the industrial process which will increase production, exports, employment and revenue.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the cost of economic reforms should not be borne only by the poor but also by the rich, as it is common thinking that the poor are being punished in the name of reform.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that at present the expenditure, imports and population of the country are increasing while the state of exports is weak.
The amount of subsidies and incentives given to the elite and the amount of capital spent on their security is more than the circular debt, he said.
He informed that Rs 600 billion is being spent annually to keep the jobs of 200,000 employees of failed state-owned companies, which amounts to punishing 220 million people.
The country’s economy has been sunk by the elite but the punishment is always given to the poor and this process should be stopped forever.
He noted that the people will accept a 40% increase in petrol price, 47% increase in electricity tariff and a 45% increase in gas tariff while they see elites in the ranks of those who are sacrificing.
The energy price hike will affect 220 million people while millions will go below the poverty line therefore the rich should also be asked to pay their due share.
He said that it is self-deception to appeal to the privileged to adopt simplicity and to expect them to do so. The elite will not cut costs on their own, but they will have to be forced for it otherwise public outrage can take any course, he warned.