ICCI seeks new strategy to get rid of IMF loans

ISLAMABAD – Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has called for a new strategy to get rid of International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans.
Muhammad Shakeel Munir, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI), has called upon the government to focus on evolving a new strategy in order to generate indigenous resources and get rid of IMF loans to run the economy as tough conditions of IMF have always pushed up the prices of gas, electricity and POL products, slashed subsidies & tax exemptions and thus created more difficulties for the business community and the general public. He said that in its 75 years of existence, Pakistan has gone to IMF for 22 times, which showed that successive governments have failed to make Pakistan stand on its own feet. He said that frequent borrowings from IMF have piled up huge foreign debt burden on Pakistan, which is making the future of our generations bleaker and time has come now that the rules should seriously think about reducing their reliance on foreign loans.
Muhammad Shakeel Munir said that the governments of many countries including Turkey, Bangladesh, India and others have got rid of IMF by adopting prudent economic policies and it is the high time that the new government should work out a new strategy to generate indigenous resources to run the economy. He said that the main reason for the fiscal deficit is that the government is spending more than generating revenues, which is not sustainable. He said that the economic and tax policies should be reviewed in a manner that they should be helpful in creating a conducive business environment to generate more indigenous resources.
ICCI President urged that Pakistan should focus on reducing the high tax rates and expanding its tax base to increase tax revenue and address the issue of fiscal deficit. He said that the current complicated tax system should be made simple for taxpayers and all coercive tactics should be avoided as they shatter the confidence of the business community. He said that the government should take Chambers of Commerce & Industry on board to bring non-filers into the tax net because without broadening the tax base, Pakistan would never be able to reduce the fiscal deficit, generate surplus revenue and get rid of foreign debt burden.
Jamshaid Akhtar Sheikh, Senior Vice President, and Muhammad Faheem Khan, Vice President ICCI, said that Pakistan is mostly dependent on limited items for exports and stressed that the government should cooperate with private sector in value addition of products that would help boost exports and reduce reliance on foreign debts. They said that the tourism was another potential sector to earn billions of dollars for the country and the government should announce attractive incentives for the private sector to invest in tourism infrastructure development on a public-private partnership model. They said that many countries including UAE, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, UK and others have enhanced the share of tourism in their economic development and Pakistan also has good potential to strengthen its economy by promoting tourism for which more conducive policies are needed.

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