President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said the economic situation is not as we are told.
Forex reserves, the balance of payments and the exchange rate has improved but investment, production, employment and growth rate still poses challenges, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that some tough decisions have improved some sectors and satisfied IMF but it has also damaged other sectors that should not be ignored.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that imports have been reduced by $4.4 billion while high interest rates have attracted funds from abroad but the economic activity has taken a blow.
The former minister noted that poverty is increasing at a rapid pace while price volatility is taking a toll on masses. Large scale manufacturing is in a spin since last fifteen months. Last year its growth was down by 3.64 percent while it has jumped to 5.9 percent in the current year.
The agriculture sector is also sailing in troubled waters. Cotton arrivals have been reduced by 1.6 million bales while sugar production is down by three million tonnes.
Inflation continues to make life difficult for the masses while the interest rates are not being reduced despite calls by economists and the battered business community.
He noted that private sector borrowing has been reduced by billions while banks are also facing problems. The government’s steps to provide small loans and free food to poor are laudable but economic turnaround will require restoration of confidence of the business community, he said.