Prime Minister Sharif’s economic focus is admirable.

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Former President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Dr. Shahid Rasheed Butt, said on Tuesday that the Prime Minister’s focus on the economy is commendable. After taking the oath of office, the PM ordered to start negotiations with the IMF, make an action plan for economic improvement, increase investment, and solve the problems of the business community. He added that the PM has also directed automation and transparency in the FBR, selling failed state-run companies, electricity and gas sector reforms, closing down or merging unnecessary departments, and making SIFC more empowered.

Shahid Rasheed Butt said in a statement today that the Prime Minister’s orders reveal his priorities, which is a ray of hope for the disappointed masses and the dejected business community. He said that the new demands of the IMF would be unbearable for the people who have been braving unprecedented inflation for years.

The IMF has made several demands to the government, including the 18% GST on various items, including food, medicine, petroleum products, and stationery, to reduce the government’s deficit.

The government should not increase taxes on items of daily use but seek alternative means to increase revenue. These measures include expanding the tax net and reducing expenditures.

The government should expand the tax net, reduce spending, close loss-making companies, fire officials, and staff involved in the theft of electricity and gas and tax evasion. It should also reduce incentives worth billions of dollars for elites.

The business leader said that the country has reached this stage due to the elite; therefore, the burden should not be put on the masses. Now is the time to collect taxes from the wealthy class.

Shahid Rashid Butt said that if the current government continues the policy of paying off debts through fresh borrowing instead of reforms, it will not solve the crisis but will pave the way for a new crisis.

He noted that the development of human resources had been ignored for a long time as the state of vital sectors like health, education, and the justice system in the country was needed to perform.

Unemployment in the country has increased a lot, the solution to which lies in expanding industries and SME sectors.

The Prime Minister and his party must navigate the difficult journey of reforms alone, as the coalition partners are interested in reaping the benefits. Still, they are waiting to bear the burden of reforms and unpopular decisions.

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