Dr. Shahid Rasheed Butt, the former president of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), stated on Sunday that the new administration will have major economic issues like debt servicing and inflation. He said that the middle class is shrinking, and the underprivileged are facing severe hardships due to continued inflation, which cannot be tamed despite best efforts. He said that after the transition to power, the rulers would have to pay close attention to the economy so that the country’s threats could be reduced and the people could experience some relief.
Shahid Rasheed Butt said in a statement issued here today that, at present, inflation is on the rise despite having interest rates at the highest level of twenty-two percent; price shocks have made life very difficult for the middle class and people experiencing poverty, and inflation has made survival very difficult. He said the new government should avoid deciding to seek quick popularity and focus on achieving long-term results. He added that the prices of electricity, oil, and gas are bleeding the public white.
The business leader said that interest rates have made it impossible to do business; foreign debt has reached $128 billion, while this year, about $ 28 billion and $ 77.5 billion loans to August 2026 need to be paid. Repaying these loans is only possible with the new IMF program, and getting loans will become equally difficult and expensive over time.
Shahid Rasheed Butt said that the annual expenditure of the government is over Rs14 trillion, which is much higher than its income, so funds have to be borrowed.
Tax revenue, exports, and remittances must be improved to run the country. He said that while the population is constantly increasing, the youth need jobs, which is becoming a problem.
A small segment has been robbing domestic resources for decades, which has pushed the country to the brink. Other countries improve their economy through loans, while in Pakistan, money is borrowed for luxuries, and all the burden has to be lifted to the people.
Mr. Butt said that unnecessary dependence on borrowing has caused irreparable damage to the domestic economy, and now the country needs wise economic policies to survive.
The necessary changes to address our budgetary imbalances will be quite painful. A postponement will make the essential adjustment larger and more painful. Though some options might be preferable, there are no simple answers to this serious problem. Currently, the only way to reduce the pressure on inflation is to make corrections in our fiscal account.
Pakistan has borrowed 23 times from the IMF, and if the domestic system is not improved, more IMF loans will not be able to save the country.