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KARACHI: Secretary General of United Business Group (UBG) and former President of FPCCI, Zubair Tufail has urged the government to provide incentives to farmers to increase production of wheat, cotton, sugar, cane etc. He also demanded a reduction in the price of fertilizers.

Expressing concern over very high food inflation, he said that the condition of the country’s economy is not very good but some sectors of the economy are performing well, the exchange rate has been satisfactory and the rupee was strengthening against the dollar.

He said 2021 has brought many challenges for the country. He expressed concern that the IMF agreement may ask the government to increase electricity and gas tariffs and emphasized that the government has to control utility tariffs in the national interest.

Ever increasing tariffs of electricity and gas have to be reduced, he demanded. Zubair Tufail said the country is once again moving towards importing consumer goods, even basic food items such as wheat, sugar, pulses which are being imported in large quantities due to poor agricultural policies.

Zubair Tufail said industries are suffering due to high production cost owing to high energy cost of gas and electricity rendering local industrial products un-competitive in the international market. On the other hand exports are declining except textile. Pakistan should increase its exports to 30 billion dollars in the next two years, he added.

He pointed out that exports of other countries like Bangladesh, Turkey, India, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia have increased considerably. Zubair Tufail said one good thing happened this year that foreign remittances are increasing month by month. He said government resources are not enough to meet expenses, and the next budget will be a deficit budget again.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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