(January 08, 2020)
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said the policy of discouraging imports and keeping the interest rate in double-digit should be changed during the new year.
Relaxing import policy and reducing interest rates to single-digit will trigger growth and increase revenue as well as employment in the country, he said.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader existing policies have contracted the industrial sector and overall economy which should be given a chance to progress.
The former minister noted that large scale manufacturing has contracted by eight percent while consumer financing which was Rs81 billion in 2018 has dropped to Rs40 billion in 2019 which indicate reduced demand.
He warned that continuity in existing economic policies will result in a further contraction in the economy which is not in the national interests.
The US-Iran tensions have resulted in increased oil prices while continued tensions will become a nightmare for the oil and gas importing countries, he added.
Mian Zahid Hussain noted that rupee fell by 31.7 percent against the dollar in 2018-19 resulting in serious problems for the business community while it regained some ground in 2019-20 but the pace of recovery is not satisfactory.
He noted that accountability, some judicial decisions and other issues have increased political temperature in the country unnerving the business community while the outcome of economic policies should not be ignored anymore.
He said that the business community is avoiding loans from banks while many of those who have borrowed are defaulting on obligations.
On the other hand, the banking spread which was 450 basis points during the last year has jumped to 622 basis points which is blocking economic development.