Default threat taking a heavy toll on economy: 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 on Wednesday said the threat of default is causing great damage to the economy. Thousands of containers are awaiting clearance at ports but are stuck due to the non-availability of foreign exchange and importers have to pay millions daily in demurrage and detention charges, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the country is engulfed in a fire that cannot be extinguished by comforting statements as practical steps are needed to restore the confidence of local and foreign investors, which is not possible without revitalizing the IMF program.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that with the elections around the corner, the government is not taking tough decisions, which is making the situation worse.

He said that the country is currently suffering from an economic and financial crisis, most of which is being blamed on the situation arising from the war between Russia and Ukraine.

The fundamentals of the economy have become so weak that it cannot bear the burden of average economic activity.

The focus of economic managers is not on the development of the country, but on creating an impression of development, in which they get some success, but soon it results in a crisis, after which loans at high-interest rates are used to save the country.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that due attention has not been given to the country’s agriculture, due to which the country has to import agricultural products worth 17 billion dollars annually.

Last year four billion dollars worth of vehicles were imported and $80 billion worth of imports brought the GDP to six percent and soon this development turned into a terrible economic crisis.

The business leader said that several times in the history of the country, huge crises have occurred as a result of fake development, but the policymakers never bothered to learn any lesson from it.

In the present scenario, the value of the dollar needs to be liberalized rather than controlled. As a result of dollar appreciation, the country’s exports, remittances, and FBR revenue will increase which Pakistan badly needs.

To deal with inflation, a direct subsidy of Rs.10,000 per month can be given to low-income people. Moreover, ten thousand megawatts of electricity per month can be generated from solar energy within six months, which will reduce the import of ten billion dollars but our policymakers are unable to adopt new thinking, he said.

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