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 Friday said that the central bank has left the local currency on the mercy of market forces despite assurances. Leaving rupee high and dry has broken the back of the masses and pushing economy towards disaster, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the debt stock continues to increase by hundreds of billions of rupees, prices of everything is out of control but policymakers seem to be unconcerned therefore the Prime Minister Imran Khan should intervene immediately.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the country has been burdened by 23 billion dollars against the promise of IMF to provide six billion dollars which is beyond understanding.
The former minister noted that a few days back the central bank assured that rupee will not be left alone and the exchange rate would be kept stable through intervention whenever necessary. The assurance of SBP was welcomed by the business community and other concerned circles but the hopes were short-lived as the dollar has jumped again out of sight.
The central bank officials have repeatedly claimed that no more devaluation is required due to stability and once they claimed this when the dollar was traded at Rs150 but rupee is still subjected to merciless attacks, he observed. The rupee is losing value as the date for the final decision on IMF loan is approaching which has left the business community undecided while prolonged uncertainty can slow down and later put brakes on the economic activity.
A probe is needed to ascertain that who is benefitting from exchange rate vitality and hike in the price of sugar and other commodities, he demanded. He said that hike in gas price amounts to a mini-budget before the approval of the annual budget.
[divider style=”normal” top=”20″ bottom=”20″]
Devaluation will enhance poverty, exports need to go up: Mian Zahid
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 Monday said devaluation didn’t increase exports but poverty. Devaluing currency and some tax breaks will never infuse life in the stagnant export sector which is the last hope for the country, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that economic policies offer little incentive for exports while encouraging imports and consumption which must be reversed by the government.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that zero-rating for the export sector should be revived and human involvement is tax and refund matters should be minimized through technology.
The former minister noted that borrowing from friendly nations and international institutions can delay a default but it is not a sustainable solution to the problem. The government should promote exports, discourage imports and promote local products as the private sector cannot enhance exports on its own.
The textile sector should be given first preference by introducing latest machinery and improved branding, designing, marketing so that it can compete in the international market. Technological gas should be filled in all the export sector while agriculture, livestock, and poultry sectors should be preferred for development to bring an end to food security and increase forex reserves. The issue regarding fertilizer, pesticides, substandard seeds, transportation, storage and availability of ample water must be addressed, and an authority should be formed for comparison of input costs with regional countries, he demanded.
Mian Zahid Hussain noted that bureaucracy is an impediment in the success of amnesty schemes as it add anomalies in the draft which make such schemes unacceptable for the masses and the business community. He noted that government cannot reverse the exchange rate erosion but it can do a lot to shield the poor from its impact by reducing taxes and duties on edibles and necessities and expanding social protection programmes.
[divider style=”normal” top=”20″ bottom=”20″]
Political parties should support charter of economy: Mian Zahid
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 country is passing through a critical phase therefore all the political parties should shun differences to support charter of economy. He said the government should provide enabling environment to make charter of economy a success as the inflation has taken a toll on the poor and middle class who deserve some respite.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that exchange rate erosion, increasing price of energy, fall of the stock market and budget differences should be taken seriously by the government.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that despite best efforts, the government has failed to provide any relief to masses while the opposition is cashing on the situation without focusing on the resolution of the problems.
The former minister noted that government should form a high-level committee encompassing all the political parties which should try to salvage the economy. All the political parties have a general consensus on defense, foreign policy and terrorism, therefore agreement on the economic issues is not very difficult. The committee should be above the political considerations as the political parties can join hands to improve the economy without compromising of their stance for the sake of the country.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that economic decisions not be based on political concerns is the best way to ensure rapid national development. He said that loans will never help the country overcome problems as it can provide temporary relief otherwise borrowing worth USD100 billion would have made Pakistan a developed nation.
The government’s efforts to raise revenue are not satisfactory resulting in borrowing as the economy remained misbalanced. Regional countries have tax to GDP ratio of 18 to 20 percent while in Pakistan it is almost half of it.