(June 13, 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Provincial Minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said subsidies and relaxations given to the upper class should be withdrawn in order to bring the Pakistani economy back from the brink of disaster.
Rich should not get subsidized electricity, gas, fuel and other commodities while every type of income including agricultural income should be taxed, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the elite who have been reaping undue benefits for seventy-five years will have to fulfil their responsibility and discharge obligations otherwise the country will default.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that oil, gas, electricity and other facilities should be provided to the billionaires at an extra cost while targeted subsidies should be provided to the poorest people.
In order to correct the system of the country, the system prevailing in the neighbouring countries for decades should be understood where the poor get essentials at cheaper rates than the rich, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the country’s politics and economy have been entangled by the elite who are stealing billions of rupees of electricity and gas along with taking trillions of rupees in benefits but for the sake of Pakistan this system has to be changed.
Mian Zahid Hussain further said that the state of political instability in the country is such that despite serious threats to the economy, the new government wasted more than a month in thinking about the decision to increase the price of oil while many difficult decisions are still pending.
Internationally, oil is found in one well out of ten while Pakistan’s average is one successful well in four but daily extraction stands at 77 thousand barrels while the rest of the oil needs to be imported by spending 20 billion dollars.
During the previous government, the oil import bill was increased by more than 100% but local extraction was not encouraged and petrol was sold cheaply for popularity which pushed the country to the brink of disaster.
Mian Zahid Hussain further said that Pakistan is called an agricultural country but more than 14 billion dollars are being spent on the import of agricultural commodities for which there is no justification.
The agricultural elite is earning more than Rs800 billion but paying nothing in taxes which has misbalanced the economy.
The economic woes of the country will be further aggravated if the process of giving benefits to the rich by borrowing dollars is not stopped, he warned.