(June 03, 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 should be given a clear direction in the forthcoming budget so that the confidence of domestic and foreign investors is fully restored.
The budget needs to focus on agricultural and industrial development without which the country could not be self-sufficient and the people could not get any relief, he said in the budget proposals.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that prices of oil, gas, food items and other commodities are skyrocketing in the international market due to which an agricultural country like Pakistan has to import billions of dollars worth of agricultural commodities which is unfortunate.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that it must be realised that it is impossible to increase production, exports, employment and revenue without developing the industrial sector.
The current tax rate was a major obstacle in the process of industrialization which needed to be reduced immediately to expand the industrial base and increase government revenue.
Similarly, strict measures are needed to curb unnecessary imports in order to save foreign exchange. Unnecessary imports and subsidies on borrowed dollars should be stopped, tax concessions should be withdrawn from influential, agricultural income should be taxed and a twelve-month deadline should be given to all auto manufacturers in Pakistan to make all parts locally to save six to seven billion dollars annually.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the circular debt is reaching Rs 3 trillion while the process of taking domestic and foreign loans should be stopped to keep the state-owned companies alive.
These companies should be privatized urgently and the system of direct taxation should be improved while reliance on indirect taxes should be reduced to ensure economic justice.
He suggested that policies should be formulated for the development of the country instead of promotion of the elite. Targeted subsidies for low-income earners should be linked to the rate of inflation, and the additional revenue of Rs 100 billion earned due to the appreciation of dollar should be used to support the needy.
Remittances of $32 billion annually from Pakistanis abroad is causing inflation. This money should be used to promote agriculture e-commerce and startups.
Next year, Pakistan will need $21 billion to pay off its debt, which is impossible without an agreement with the IMF, he said, adding that during the tenure of the previous government, the rupee was devalued by 47% but it did not increase the exports as expected while imports were increased remarkably so the rupee should not be further weakened.