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KARACHI: Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said that government decision to hike gas tariff has resulted in sleepless nights for the business community.

The increased price of petroleum products, electricity and all other items were not going down well with the masses and the businessmen and now the government has started mulling a proposal to substantially increase the tariff of 43 percent of the gas being supplied to the consumers which will damage consumers, trade, industry and agriculture.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the move will add to inflation and result in the closure of many businesses triggering unemployment therefore the proposal should be rejected.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that the fall of the rupee has become a real threat to the economy which can reverse the gains ensured during the last few years besides adding billions of rupees to the debt.

He said that authorities have been blaming high oil prices for the devaluation of the rupee which is not the fact as oil prices have remained very high in the past but it failed to dent the local currency.

The veteran business leader noted that the government has claimed that the current account deficit will remain two to three percent of the GDP while some independent experts suggest that it will be almost 100 percent more than the government estimates.

He blamed reduced investment, less than satisfactory exports and some policies for the fall of the rupee and opined that only remittances are not enough to support the local unit.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that western countries have decided economic blockade for Afghanistan and their assets have also been held resulting in an outflow of dollars from Pakistan where it fetches five to ten rupees extra for a dollar.

The dollar will continue to find its way to Afghanistan as long as its value is more than the value it enjoys in Pakistan, he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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