President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former Provincial Minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday asked the government to take steps to contain widening current account deficit. Last year’s current account deficit stood at 3.3 billion dollars while the deficit for the current year may hit the mark of nine billion dollars, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the current account deficit for January has been recorded at 1189 billion dollars while was 590 million dollars in the same period of 2016. He said that an increase of 102 percent in the deficit is not acceptable therefore government should do something about it. The business leader said that exports of all major items including textiles continue to fall while imports are growing; the transport sector imports grew by 142 percent.
The former minister demanded that rising cost of imports and imported oil, sluggish exports, declining FDI and reduced remittances sent by overseas Pakistanis must be considered. Mian Zahid Hussain said that foreign direct investment has almost dried leaving authorities with no option but to rely on foreign loans and issue sovereign bonds. The home remittances have been a major element supporting the current account deficit and funding imports but the same continue to fall which is worrying. Remittances from the US, UK and Saudi Arabia are going down while overall two percent fall has been recorded. President PBIF Mian Zahid Hussain said that more and more foreign companies, popular international brands and retailers are moving to Pakistan. United Kingdom’s retailer TESCO, the third-largest company in the world, will soon land in Pakistan which is a positive sign.