The new government must focus on budget and debt repayment: Mian Zahid Hussain.

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Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain said on Friday that elections had been held, and the people are now waiting for the official results. He said that when the new government is empowered, it must start preparing the budget and plan for debt repayments. 

Mian Zahid Hussain said the government will need another IMF program for debt servicing as the current agreement will be completed by the end of next month.

Speaking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that all the political parties had prioritized the economy in their manifestos, so the public hopes that the new government will take steps to provide some relief amid severe economic punishment. The business leader said servicing local and foreign debt had become a major problem. The volume of these loans and their interest has increased so much that the government is forced to borrow even for operational spending. 

The main reason for the increased debt is the tax system’s weakness. In addition, large sums of money have been wasted on political agendas rather than improving the economy. 

He said the resources have been wasted on many poorly designed projects, most of which have been completed for political benefits. 

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the debt has reached 82 % of the GDP, 667 % higher than the government revenue, which equals 328 % of our exports. 

He said the country’s debt has doubled in the last seven years to $ 124 billion, of which 22 % is to be paid in less than one year, which is a big challenge.

He noted that political leaders and the establishment have become convinced that the country can no longer be run as if it were going on. Many believe the situation will worsen without improvements and strong decisions. 

He said that what the new government will do to relieve the masses remains to be seen. It is expected to improve tax administration, tax agricultural incomes, and boost industrial and agricultural sectors.

Taxing wholesalers and retailers and reducing the volume of the undocumented economy are necessary for the country’s survival. 

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