Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain said on Friday that the staff-level agreement with the IMF is a great achievement of the caretaker Finance Minister Dr. Shamshad Akhtar and the present government. He said tough decisions were necessary to save the country, from which the economy shrank, compounding problems for the masses and the business community.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that Pakistan’s economy’s condition is improving. Still, it needs to remain under IMF supervision for at least two years so funds are well-spent.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the professional recommendations of the IMF should complete the current IMF program, and preparations for the new program should be initiated. The IMF will soon pay Pakistan seven hundred million dollars after its board’s approval, which will improve the rupee’s value and increase investors’ confidence. In comparison, the other three international organisations will soon pay 950 million dollars to Pakistan, he added.
These include the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Asian Infrastructure Development Bank, awaiting the IMF’s decision to disburse the loan.
Apart from this, commercial loans of three and a half billion dollars are also being arranged, which will improve the country’s financial situation.
Mian Zahid Hussain further said that the government should stop theft, default, and line losses in the electricity and gas sectors to reduce prices. It has become difficult to continue business at current prices while interest rates are skyrocketing.
He noted that legislation should be enacted to stop the loss of funds; otherwise, the country will be in the same situation after a few years.
The business leader noted that the decision to increase gas prices again is expected, which will prove disastrous for the people and the industrial sector. To eliminate the circular debt of the electricity and gas sectors, instead of continuously increasing the tariff, changes in the energy basket, reforms in capacity charges, and other options should also be explored.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that if the economic indicators continue to improve, Pakistan’s global ranking will also improve soon, making it possible to get relatively cheap loans.