Achieving political and economic stability will be a formidable task. Mian Zahid Hussain

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Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain, said on Friday that as Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, he will have to govern a country facing many serious problems. He said that bringing political and economic stability to a nation divided by politics and facing an economic crunch would be a big challenge for him.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that Shahbaz Sharif had saved the country from bankruptcy by signing a standby agreement with the IMF, and now he will try hard to get a positive response from the IMF in its last review and enter a new deal to improve things. Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the old agreement with the IMF was to save the country from bankruptcy, due to which the foreign exchange reserves and the deficit remained more or less within the recommended limits of the IMF.

The new long-term deal with the IMF will include addressing the issues that have pushed the country to the brink of bankruptcy. Addressing these economic problems will be a challenge for Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif because the country’s sluggish economy and weak government control are in the interest of many influential groups. He added that these groups have been squeezing the economy and the people for decades and will resist every move to streamline things.

The business leader said that in the event of another agreement with the IMF, the lender would not allow the deficit to exceed 1.5 per cent of GDP, which means the government would not be able to undertake major infrastructure projects and go for heavy spending, which will cause frustration among the public and newly elected members of parliament.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that in these circumstances, it would be difficult to get help from China and Arab countries. Still, there are bright possibilities of huge investment in the country under SIFC, which will employ people. Investments will make it possible to keep the value of the rupee stable and inflation under control, he said, adding that the business community is hopeful that the incoming government will privatise the sick companies, the problems of electricity and gas will be solved, and the cost of doing business will be reduced. Moreover, efforts will be made to increase exports and boost the tax-to-GDP ratio to improve the overall situation. PPP and MQM will fully support the government in these measures, and the business community also hopes that the opposition will not take irresponsible steps that make life miserable for the commoner.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that the people and business community across the country are protesting due to electricity and gas bills and oil prices, and the incoming government can do a lot in this regard by reducing electricity, gas theft, capacity charges, and line losses.

There is strong hope from the new Prime Minister that he will present the best model of good governance according to the promises made in the election and by working hard day and night. He will be able to get the country out of dire economic difficulties.

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