Former President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Dr Shahid Rasheed Butt, said on Saturday that the prevailing economic conditions solely affect individuals and small business owners. Still, the circumstances are highly favourable to powerful companies. Under the guise of the IMF program, the entire burden has been placed on the people, while no responsibility has been placed on the rich, which is unjustified, he said.
Shahid Rasheed Butt said in a statement issued here today that the IMF is content with increased tax collection. However, it is not the outcome of efforts of any department but the result of unsustainable inflation. He said that the economy is currently shrinking; the people are not getting their due share while many sectors are getting their rights, including those who are getting more than they deserve, which needs to be balanced.
Shahid Rasheed Butt said that in July, August and September, the corporate sector earned 417 billion rupees, breaking the previous record of earnings, in which the profit of banks was 149 billion rupees. Apart from this, almost all the listed companies earned huge profits. In contrast, the gains made by the cement, fertiliser and automobile industries in these three months were unprecedented in the last two years.
The business leader informed that these companies distributed profits of 97 billion rupees to their shareholders, in which banks gave away 51 billion rupees to shareholders, which was thirteen per cent higher than the same quarter last year. He noted that a twenty-four per cent increase in tax collection was recorded, forcing IMF to express satisfaction. Still, all the credit for increased tax revenue goes to the incredible inflation, which has made life very difficult for the majority.
The export sector is underperforming, imports are restricted, and the health and education sectors are frustrating the masses, but the authorities have yet to pay attention to it.
A seemingly tiny but significant surplus of 0.4 per cent of GDP has been recorded in the primary balance. In terms of fiscal performance, the government might have exceeded the quarterly targets, but at what cost, he questioned.
He said that the policy of improving the economy by breaking the backs of low-income people would never work, as this recipe has been tried many times with no results.