Inflation greater compared to SBP and IMF estimates: Mian Zahid Hussain

Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain said on Wednesday that there was scope for reducing the interest rate under the current economic conditions. Still, it was maintained, which is disappointing. Along with the decrease in the dollar value in Pakistan, oil is becoming cheaper in the international market, but the price of petrol and high-speed diesel has not been reduced, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the price of kerosene and light diesel has been reduced slightly, and if the price of petrol and diesel were reduced, people would get some relief.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that due to the low price of oil in the international market, people expected a reduction in petrol and diesel by almost Rs 18, but the prices were maintained.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that diesel plays a fundamental role in economic activities and the transportation of essential goods, so the reduction in its price leads to a reduction in inflation, which the authorities should consider.

The business leader said that the inflation in the country is increasing more than the estimates of the State Bank, which should be stopped. The IMF had estimated inflation to be 25.9 percent during the current year, while the central bank had predicted inflation to be 20 to 22 percent during the current financial year. However, this did not happen, and it reached 31.4 percent in September.

The State Bank believes that inflation will gradually decrease, but how will this be possible after the 192% increase in gas prices? In August, the value of the Pakistani rupee fell sharply, but after that, he observed a crackdown on illegal currency trading, which started to restore its value.

He said Pakistan has to pay billions of dollars, for which huge investments are expected from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates under the SIFC. In contrast, other countries and international organizations are expected to provide aid and loans after the 2022 floods.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the business community is hopeful that the review of the IMF in November will be successful, as a result of which Pakistan will not only be able to get the instalment of 710 million dollars of debt but also the rollover of old loans.

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