IMF move to release of the $1.1 billion tranche welcomed.

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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 said on Wednesday that the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) disbursement of the $1.1 billion tranche deserves praise. He said that SBP’s decision to keep interest rates unchanged has disappointed the business community. 

Mian Zahid Hussain said that we are responsible for the devastation of the country’s economy and will have to fix it as no one else will do it for us. Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the IMF decision is a reason for satisfaction. This shows that the confidence of lenders is increasing in Pakistan, which will also increase the confidence of friendly countries and other creditors. 

The business leader said that the IMF’s move would also pave the way for a new three-year loan from the IMF as the lender is satisfied with the government’s policy and financial measures.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that Pakistan’s economic condition is improving, and inflation is also decreasing. In these circumstances, it would have been better if the interest rate had been reduced. However, the Central Bank feared that inflation could bounce back; therefore, the interest rate was maintained, disappointing the business community. 

He demanded that the SBP reduce policy rates in the following review. Mian Zahid Hussain said that we have set fire to the country’s economy, and we have to put it out. International organisations and friendly countries cannot do anything in this regard. Painful reforms and improvements in the tax system are needed to improve the economy and get out of the chronic payments crisis. 

He observed that because merit is ignored, the influential are getting richer, the people are getting poorer, and the country’s economy is getting weaker. 

He warned that now is the time to rectify the situation; otherwise, it will be impossible to run the country. Mian Zahid Hussain said that our growth rate is less than two per cent right now, which is impossible to increase under the supervision of the IMF. 

Economic prosperity is only possible with debt relief. Next year, we have to pay 24 billion dollars in debt and interest, which is three times more than the current reserves of the central bank, while we have to pay more than 8000 billion rupees in interest on domestic debt, which is 90% of our total revenue. 

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that failed institutions facing difficulties in privatisation should be closed immediately because trillions of rupees are being wasted year after year running them. Still, it has become difficult to run them now.

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