Political rivalry, violence deteriorating investment climate: 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 on Friday said political differences should not be allowed to become enmity.

Political violence will increase tensions which would affect investor confidence, which is not good for the country, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the business community was unnerved before the war between Russia and Ukraine, and now the escalation of political tensions has resulted in uncertainty.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that investors are becoming increasingly fearful, which will result in low investment and capital flight from the country.

He said that after the government withdraws its decision to reduce the price of electricity, the relief given in oil prices would have to be withdrawn as the national exchequer could not bear the burden.

When relief was announced which was a breach of contract with the IMF, the price of a barrel in the international market was $92, which has risen to $139 and now stands at 112 dollars.

He said that the oil prices have come down a bit and could rise again and at the same time a new diesel crisis is emerging in the country.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that as oil becomes more expensive, the cost of generating electricity, along with hundreds of other items, is rising, which the government cannot bear.

Prices of imported furnace oil, diesel, gas and coal are at record levels and are unlikely to fall sharply as many oil-exporting countries are unwilling to cooperate in reducing prices.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that if the government maintains oil prices as per its announcement, then foreign exchange reserves will be depleted while the rupee will depreciate further and the central bank will have to take drastic measures to revive the economy.

The strict measures by the central bank will affect the economy and the common man already facing runaway inflation.

Despite the Prime Minister’s announcement of a reduction in electricity and oil prices, the prices of essential commodities have not come down but have increased, which is worrying.

The price of edible oil has crossed Rs470, chicken is being sold at Rs400 per kg while the price of fruit and vegetable is also skyrocketing and now, before the holy month of Ramadan, the race for profit has started.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that foreign investment is not possible in a country that is going through such political and economic instability. Instead of investing in economic stability, billions have been spent on popular initiatives and this practice continues.

If resources were used to reduce interest rates for the industrial community, it would have resulted in a huge expansion in the industrial sector and millions would have got jobs.

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