Businesses optimistic about the appointment of Aurangzeb as Finance Minister

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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 Monday that masses and businesses are excited about the appointment of Aurangzeb to the position of Finance Minister. Muhammad Aurangzeb has no political baggage; therefore, it is hoped that he will make economic decisions on merit and not allow politics to guide the economy, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that if allowed to work independently, the respected and experienced finance minister can resolve problems confronting the economy. Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said Muhammad Aurangzeb is a professional and non-political person ready to deliver as expected. He added that with his appointment as the Minister of Finance, the public and the business community have become hopeful for improvement in the situation.

Business people and industrialists believe important economic decisions will now be made on merit rather than factional politics.

He hoped that PIA and other sick public institutions would be privatised, electricity and gas sector losses would be eliminated, and business costs would be reduced.

The business leader said that the people had seen Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Shaukat Tareen, Ishaq Dar, Asad Umar, and Muftah Ismail as finance ministers. Now, the people and the business community are awaiting the moves of the finance minister, who is not a slave to political groups.

The new finance minister is respected in financial circles and can make tough decisions under pressure. He is now faced with the challenge of the success of the current IMF review and signing a new IMF program soon after the budget.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the new finance minister must also decide on the NFC award as the provinces’ share is very high. The federation has nothing for essential expenses and has to take loans. He said that the provinces have not been able to increase the tax in the last ten years because they are getting more funds than they need, so they are not serious about improving the revenue.

Apart from this, many departments have been transferred to the provinces. Still, their ministries are also running in the centre, which needs to be abolished because billions of rupees are being wasted on these ministries.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the property tax collected from a city in neighbouring India is more than the provincial taxes collected from the entire province of Sindh.

The People’s Party, part of the government coalition, is firmly against privatization but supports public-private partnerships. However, all economic experts consider privatization the answer to the current problems. Privatisation will eradicate these companies’ losses, and providing first-rate facilities to the masses will be possible. The government of Sindh should buy the departments that PPP wants to keep under state control and handle them the way it prefers.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that the decisions of the new finance minister will only be acceptable to some politicians, business mafia, and non-tax paying sectors, and they will try to create problems for them. The authorities are responsible for protecting the finance minister from political pressure and fully supporting his initiatives, he warned. If he fails, the country will become a breeding ground for more problems.


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