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 Monday asked the government to reconsider liberal import policy which has resulted in wastage of precious foreign exchange and record trade deficit.
Liberal import regime is against the national interests which result in flow of foreign exchange to other countries therefore import of hundreds unnecessary items should be restricted, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that import of machinery for CPEC is also widening the trade deficit but it is necessary for the future of country but unnecessary imports should be banned. Pakistan is importing fruits and vegetables worth over 2.6 billion dollars per annum which is more than the import of the palm oil which is necessary while imported milk, yogurt, butter and fish can be seen on almost all the major stores, he said.
Similarly, vehicles worth two billion are being imported annually which can be controlled if local manufacturers are forced to make quality cars and sell them at reasonable price. The Former Minister said that there is no justification in importing cigarettes, cosmetics, perfumery, clothes, shoes etc. on such a large scale. During 2014, 2015 and 2016 Pakistan’s exports remained 25.1, 23.7 and 20.8 billion dollars while imported remained 45.1, 45.8 and 44.7 billion dollars. The President PBIF said Country saved sixteen billion dollars on account of lower oil prices and remittances in three years but imports were not controlled therefore nothing could be achieved and the benefit went to the importers otherwise we would not have been facing such a huge deficit.