On Wednesday, the Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President of Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain said the industrial sector’s production cost should be significantly reduced in the coming budget. Otherwise, he said, the future of industries in the country will be uncertain, hitting production, exports, employment and revenue.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that thousands of industries have closed in the country, and many operate at half or less capacity. At the same time, millions of people have become unemployed, and if this situation continues, the country’s economic condition will further deteriorate.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the industrial sector is in dire straits due to the increased dollar value, a surge in bank markup, rupee depreciation, unsustainable inflation exceeding 36 percent, import restrictions and political instability. He added that this important sector has deteriorated, and if it is not supported, the revenue target of FBR will not be met while the banks’ default will also increase.
To revive the industrial sector, it is necessary to reduce its cost of production, he said, adding that the SMEs play a fundamental role in the development of any country, but this sector needs to be addressed in Pakistan. There is a need for easier financing, less tax and reduced audit burden for this sector to play its role in the country’s development and provide employment to the people.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that textile, auto, pharma, steel and many other industrial sectors are on the verge of collapse and need to be bailed out immediately.
The previous government allowed more industries to be set up in tribal areas than needed for political gains. It gave them tax exemptions due to low production costs, and they threatened industries in other parts of the country. He added that competition between the sectors of the regions should be ensured for a level playing field.
Mian Zahid Hussain further said that the supply of imported raw materials for the industries should be ensured. At the same time, the requirement of ID cards for purchase should be made effective or abolished.
A large part of the country’s economy is undocumented, which will only agree to documentation once they have confidence in government institutions and officials. The economy can generate an additional tax of four trillion rupees per year.
He said that increased smuggling and the Afghan Transit Trade Agreement are also continuing to damage Pakistan’s economy, which needs to be reviewed.