LAHORE -  The All Pakistan Business Forum has said that target of taking exports to $35 billion by 2020 is much below the Pakistan’s export potential, asking the planners to also facilitate non-textile exporters to ensure sustainable increase because this sector can exploit many new markets through government facilitation.

APBF president Ibrahim Qureshi said that the most serious threat to the economy in the new fiscal year would be inflation. Another threat is that 2018 is the election year and in an election year, usually governments go on spending sprees, triggering the inflation. This happened in 2008 as well as in 2013 by our previous governments. Inflation would also be a threat to rupee stability as inflation cannot be exported.

Rejecting the government plan of approaching the International Monetary Fund for financial assistance once again, he said it would bring fresh wave of price-hike. He said the people would not benefit from the IMF loan as the lavish spending has been continuing.

He said the IMF loan would have devastating effects on economy, as with more taxes, increased rates of utilities and cost of production would further increase. This will render the Pakistani exports non-competitive in the globalised competitive environment, he feared.

He argued that policies dictated by the IMF were not always suitable for the situation of the country. He argued that there were several examples of how the IMF failed to understand the dynamics of the country that they were dealing with. He also rejected the constant hike in power as well as gas rates, hitting directly to the economy.

He said that with a view to bridge financing gap, there were different medium-term solutions to fill up the gap as the government would have to generate non-debt inflows such as foreign investment and remittances or cut down trade deficit by boosting exports and reducing imports.

 He said no IMF bailout package had ever been successful since 1988 due to lack of fiscal management and any solid structure for repayment.

The APBF president said the fast rising up graph of inflation and law and order situation in parts of the country had put the industrial sector in deep troubles therefore the government would have to come up with out-of-the-box solution to expedite economic activities in the country.

He said that addition of RLNG in the gas pipeline system has enabled the government to install gas-run power plants; instrumental in reducing pollution and power cost. Punjab industries are now getting 24/7 RLNG supplies that have ensured availability for the energy starved province.