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 policy to discourage imports should be reconsidered because of losses associated with it.The policy of suppressing imports has damaged the industrial sector, left a million jobless and triggered inflation to nine-year high resulting in unrest, he said.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the stock market is thriving but foreign investment in it is subject to high interest rates and funds will find their way out of the country once the interest rates come down. The stock market is a place where buying and selling take place and it has nothing to do with national development, he noted.
The former minister noted that reports of international institutions about Pakistan are misleading because the same institutions have repeatedly projected that Pakistan will soon become an economic power.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the fact remains that the country is being run on borrowed money and the government has borrowed 10.4 billion dollars in one year up to September 30th. Pakistan will pay four percent interest on IMF loan while 5.5 percent interest will be paid on the rest of the borrowing which include loans from Arab and Chinese banks.
He said that new trade agreements should not be signed unless the older ones are seriously reviewed as all such agreements have not benefitted the country. China imports almost 334 billion dollar worth of goods and services but Pakistan’s share in Chinese imports remain at dismal 0.24 percent which if increased to five percent will result in $17 billion earnings.
Similarly, he said, Malaysia imports 35 billion dollar worth of goods and services while Pakistan share stands at 0.3 percent. He noted that the US and China have imposed restrictions on goods and services worth $400 billion which has benefitted many other countries but Pakistan failed to benefit from it.