Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s Businessmen Panel Secretary General (Federal) Ch Ahmad Jawad on Saturday said national interest demands that we seriously reduce our heavy dependence on foreign countries and aid agencies and develop a viable self-sustaining economy.

Speaking to media in Islamabad, he said weak governance, lack of commitment, corruption, external and internal threats or a combination of these factors led to Pakistan failing to balance its budget and rely heavily on foreign assistance which must to be end.

Indeed, Pakistan is blessed with a unique strategic location but we have overplayed its significance for short-term economic and political gains that have invariably recoiled back on the country.

Though economic survey reveals Pakistan's economy is set to contract for the first time in 68 years by 0.38% due to the adverse impact of the virus outbreak, and the already volatile financial situation.

However Pakistan can still take advantage of low oil prices, and use this breathing space to strengthen the economy, reduce cost of production, especially utilities, and enhance exports," he said.

 Jawad said “We have to recognize the paradoxes that we face. We are proud to be a nuclear-armed country, and justifiably so, but on the other hand we are so dependent on others to keep our economy afloat. This is a huge contradiction.

On the other hand India has always tried to exploit our economic weakness and pursues policies to further weaken it. Modi government’s deliberate strategy is to maintain diplomatic and military pressure on Pakistan by keeping the LoC active and instigate sabotage activities.

The SG BMP also expressed surprise over instability of rupee despite improving current account position, seeking the central bank’s intervention for stability that it says mandatory for growth.

Jawad termed rupee depreciation “a mysterious development”. Continued fall of rupee is not understandable with a fact that there was no fundamental change in country's imports during last few months while other economic indicators are also same for a long time.

Despite current account deficit shrank to $2.9 billion in fiscal 2019/20, lost in five years. Import bill fell 19 percent to $44.5 billion during this period but rupee continued to sink.

Current account deficit shrank to 1.1 percent of GDP in FY20. Inflows of workers’ remittances grew 6.4 percent to $23.1 billion, “which should have a positive impact on dollar-rupee exchange value”.

He suggested we have to draw new strategy for effective stabilization once for all, and do reliance on our existing resources, reduce the cost of expenditures for the government departments, strengthen agriculture and revise the strategy of free float of dollar. Currently dollar price against Pak rupee is overvalued; It should be revised back to revive economy; he remarked.