LAHORE - The business community, while criticizing the government for its absolute dependence on borrowing in financial matter, has lamented that mind of our financial managers remain always busy in search of new avenues of borrowing and ways to burden common man under taxes. “They are highly talented and expert in the field of borrowing, as they don’t have time to think anything constructive, using their creative talent to make country self-reliant.

One can observe their body language once they succeed to get financial assistance of IMF or any other international borrowing agencies or through floating of bonds, which is like a drug addict. You can see soothing comfort from facial expressions of our Finance Minister Ashaq Dar when he gets loan from IMF or when bonds are floated successfully but this comfort is temporary, said noted leather industry expert and PTA former chairman Agha Saidain.

Experts said that Pakistan tapped the international debt market twice during the period of one year. In April 2014, Euro bonds worth $ 1 billion of 5 years tenor with mark-up of 7.24% and $ 1 billion of 10 years tenor with mark up of 8.25% were launched. In November 2014 again international Sukuk worth $ 1 billion with a tenor of 5 years at 6.75 mark-up were again issued. Eurobonds and SUKUK were issued after the gap of 9 years and 7 years respectively. 

Agha Saiddain observed that Pakistan is rich in resources. We have agricultural land with surplus crops of cotton, rice, wheat, fruits and many other things. The country is rich in livestock with 14% and 7.5 % global population of Buffalo, Goat respectively. We claim to have one of the biggest reserves of coal deposits in Thar and in Baluchistan; we have Gold and Copper mines. The coastal area of Pakistan is blend with one of the best sea food items like a fish, Prawn, Lotester etc.

“Our financial managers have no time to think how Bangladesh increased its exports with meager resource as compared to Pakistan. So much so their thinking is myopic to the extent that they are striving to create foreign exchange of Rs. 20 billion which according to them is not only an uphill task but they are not aware that they themselves are the biggest hindrance in this because they have put economy on auto Pilot.”

If one looks only into dollar fluctuation against Pak Rupee which is turbulent between Rs. 95 to Rs. 110 and nobody thinks as how detrimental it is for our exports. Recently exporters sold their goods keeping in view Rs. 103 against U.S Dollar and made shipments to their customers. But payments received were credited to their account at Rs. 99.85 and exporter lost Rs. 3.15 million against each export of one million dollars.

He said that any prudent financial manager would have never allowed this rapid decline in dollar which has destroyed our export sector. Industry experts stated that it was wise to keep value of Rupee constant and steady to boost our exports and this could help them to create foreign exchange reserves within our own resources rather depending on barrowing at high interest rates. One may ask these so called financial experts that why they are happy to pay 8.25% on Eurobonds and why same support is not provided to export sector. The dollar borrowed is to be returned with interest and dollar earned through exports is neither to be returned nor any interest is to be paid on export earnings. The benefits of dollar earned through exports are manifolds it generates employment, creates foreign exchange reserves, improves exchange rate and balance of payments whereas borrowed dollar is vice versa.

LCCI president Ijaz Mumtaz observed that due to the decline in exports the balance of payments of the country is in shambles. If these managers had maintained dollar between Rs. 103 and Rs. 102 to benefit export sector to control balance of payment the situation could have been different.

APTMA Punjab former chairman Shehzad Ali Khan said that government never learn from other countries like China who maintained RMB at RMB 8 against US dollar for four years when according to U.S.A its value should have been RMB 6 against one US dollar i.e. prevailing exchange rate. Due to poor policies we have failed to ripe the fruit on GSP Plus status, he added.