Businessmen reject IMF interference in economic matters

LAHORE – The business community has said that economy is inching towards point of no return due to disturbing interference of International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the Pakistani economy, therefore people sitting on the helm of affairs must revisit economic policies.

LCCI present Tahir Javed said that industry is the main victim of deepening economic crisis. Rupee devaluation is adding to the economic miseries of the country and all these ills produced just because of awful interference of IMF in the Pakistan’s economic matters and dictations to the policy makers for taking harsh measures.

He said that Pakistan is the “most frequent customer” of IMF and Pakistani governments often depended on borrowing from IMF and accepted stringent conditions despite the fact that this institution is merciless money lender which always forced Pakistan to adopt bad policies like rupee devaluation, massive increases in the electricity and gas prices.

“How a country can take independent decisions and grow its economy when it is carrying the burden of over 85 billions dollars debs and utilizing huge part of the federal budget for debt servicing”, the LCCI President questioned.

Saarc CCI vice president Iftikhar Malik said that Pakistan would be loser in many heads if immediate measures are not taken to get rid of the massive loans which are the mother of most of the economic ills. He said that though it is a tough but not impossible task as if Turkey can do it than why we cannot.

He said that the country is witnessing an unstable economic situation. He said that business community understands well that there is no overnight solution of the economic problems but there is a dire need to set directions and to introduce economic reforms in the favor of trade and industry.

He said that country faced various economic challenges in last year including decline in exports & foreign direct investment, lowest tax-to-GDP ratio and inefficiency of public sector entities but these challenged can be coped through meaningful partnership and dialogues between the government and the private sector.

While giving the formula for economic independence, he said there are a number of issues that must be tackled on priority, the biggest one is how to keep the momentum of growth in the wake of a less than targeted growth of the Agriculture and the Manufacturing sector. The second one is the widening gap between exports and imports that could be contained by enhancing exports.

He said that that the government would also have to focus on agriculture, manufacturing sector, education, water, human resources, minerals, public health, tax collection system and end of corruption should be focused to get rid of economic worries.

PIAF chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that the agriculture is the largest sector of Pakistan as around 43% labor was dependent upon the agriculture. He said that this largest sector needs revolutionary reforms on war footing.

Irfan Iqbal said that growth of agriculture sector would not only ensure food security and provision of raw material to the export-oriented industry textile but would also generate huge revenue for the government and vast employment opportunities.

He said that country’s population is growing at the rate of 2.10 percent every year and if this growth continues for next two decades, population would cross the mark of 240 million. They said that Pakistan needs to increase the yield per acre on steady pace therefore government should plan to bring that about 9 million hectors of fertile land under cultivation which is remained useless just because of shortage of water.

FPCCI former president Mian Idrees said that shortage of water is one of the biggest challenges being faced by the country. He said that million acres land could be brought under cultivation by constructing the Kalabagh dam therefore Kalabagh Dam should be one of the priorities of the government.

He said that Pakistan was enriched with the mineral resources worth trillion dollars that can make the dream of economic stability true. These resources should be fully utilized for economic uplift of the country and local companies should be given priority for mining.

He also stressed the need for developing regional, product specific and target oriented marketing strategy. New markets and new products need to be explored to reduce country’s dependence on few commodities and countries. Pakistan’s exports are highly concentrated in few items. Such concentration in few markets can also become a source for instability in export earnings.

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