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 improved economic activities and any relief to masses is not possible unless fundamental changes are made in some policies including interest rates which has led to the economic slowdown.
The World Bank has estimated a growth rate of 2.4 percent for Pakistan in 2020 while is lower than all the regional countries as the growth rate if Afghanistan will be 3 percent, Sri Lanka 3.3 percent, Maldives 5.5 percent, Nepal 6.4 percent, India 6.9 percent while the GDP growth rate of Bangladesh and Bhutan will remain about seven percent.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader informed that our growth rate will hover around 3 percent in 2021 while the rest of the regional economies will grow further which means that there will be no relief for the masses and the business community.
The former minister noted that the growth rate may slide below the projections of international institutions due to ongoing political turmoil which is set to increase. He noted that the issue of FATF has also emerged as a threat which is being taken lightly which can prove disastrous for the country if satisfactory progress was not made until the review scheduled in February 2020.
Mian Zahid Hussain noted that economic activities are stagnating and inflation is increasing due to erosion in the exchange rate resulting in unemployment, unrest and agitation while march and sit-in by opposition will add to the miseries of masses and the businessmen.
The government and SBP is taking credit of reduced trade deficit which is at the cost of industry and jobs, he said, adding that millions have lost jobs while more are working on reduced wages as their pay cannot be increased during the uncertain times where survival has become a problem for the industrial sector. The business community had met top officials time and again but what they got in return was only assurances which has disappointed them. The government should revisit the negative implications of IMF conditions which has pushed the country in serious turmoil, he said.