IMF deal result of tireless efforts of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif: Mian Zahid Hussain

Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain said on Monday that the credit of the IMF Staff Level Agreement goes to Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. The Prime Minister has once again proved his leadership skills, and the business community supports the steps taken to restore the confidence of the IMF fully, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that those anticipating a default have failed in their designs, and the success of the standby program will depend on the capabilities of the current government, the caretaker government and the new government elected due to the election.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the SBA is disappointing for the opposition. In contrast, the public and the business community are satisfied, reflected in the increase of 2400 points in the stock market.

If the country had gone bankrupt, the people’s sufferings would have become unbearable, and inflation would exceed the current level many times. Due to the government’s efforts, the country has temporarily come out of the uncertain situation, but the confidence of the IMF has not yet been fully restored, he said.

The business leader said that government should take all the necessary steps to improve relations with the IMF, for which the business community will continue to support it unconditionally.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that as a result of the agreement, in addition to three billion dollars from the IMF, it will also be possible to obtain funds from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, friendly countries and the international market at low-interest rates, and a total of 10 to 12 billion dollars are expected to be brought into the country.

He noted that the domestic interest rates would remain high, the electricity and gas prices would also increase, and the control of dollars and imports would have to be ended, affecting the people and people in business. However, this will not be as painful as bankruptcy.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that the terms of the IMF agreement include fiscal discipline, an increase in the tax base, energy reforms and providing facilities to the people. The success of the program is linked to political stability in the country.

If there is political instability, its success will be difficult, so matters should be kept under control at all costs, and no political party or group should be allowed to make mischief.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that in the current year, Pakistan has to repay debts of about 25 billion dollars, six times more than the foreign exchange reserves. After the agreement with the IMF, new loans and the rollover of old loans will be possible, so we have no option but to obey the IMF’s dictation.

After the current agreement, the newly elected government must sign another long-term agreement with the international organisation. If there are no breaches of promises, the terms of this agreement will be somewhat lenient, he said.

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