Current economic policies need to be more sustainable.

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Former President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Dr Shahid Rasheed Butt, said on Wednesday that the current economic policies are not viable. He added that in the presence of unworkable policies, production and exports will stay the same, and the country will continue to borrow.

Shahid Rasheed Butt said in a statement issued here today that for the next five years, the growth rate cannot go beyond four per cent in any case. The business leader said that the ruling elite has targeted the urban middle class in the budget, so the troubled middle class is shrinking rapidly. He said a country could only progress with the middle class, the economy’s main driver.

He observed that this time, too, the people have to swallow the bitter pill while the ruling elite has increased their expenses and the influential sectors have also been kept out of the tax net.

He said that in one year, more than 12 million people would go below the poverty line, while in two years, the majority of the country’s population would become extremely poor.

Shahid Rasheed Butt said that the staff and officers of the government departments where bribes are not possible due to lack of public dealing are teaching tuitions and driving taxis to cope with the increasing inflation.

He said that, according to media reports, a friendly country has refused to give a twelve billion-dollar loan for an unnecessary railway project.

This was a great service to Pakistan. Otherwise, much of this money would have been exposed to corruption, and the people would have become more miserable.

Recently, a politician said that Gwadar would be more beneficial for Pakistan than the Reko Diq Copper-Gold Project. Still, he should have mentioned the benefit Reko Diq has brought to Balochistan and Pakistan.

Mr. Butt noted that as a means of compensating for the losses that have been incurred as a result of years of tremendous corruption and unforgivable incompetence, electricity and gas have been made very costly.

Skipping these steps is not an option since doing so would increase the budget deficit even more, and the International Monetary Fund would refuse to provide fresh loans.

Over the next several months, people will observe an increase in inflation, a continuation of the unemployment rate, and an increase in the gap between the wealthy and the average citizen.

He said that Pakistan is facing a predicament; it is becoming increasingly difficult to eradicate terrorism in the face of low economic growth, widespread unemployment, and a widening gap between the ruling class and the average person, which is a great danger to the economy and society.

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