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KARACHI: Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan and President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum Mian Zahid Hussain has said that income of common man should be increased in a nation where inflation is higher than other countries of the world, adding that ignoring this principle has caused serious economic problems.

He said devaluation of currency increases exports and decreases imports but in Pakistan sharp decline in the value of rupee has not dented imports, which is astonishing.

Pakistan depends on petroleum, palm oil and industrial chemicals and raw material which cannot be controlled without boosting exports, he said.

He said that expensive electricity, costly gas and petroleum products will increase inflation while people will have to endure entire burden of tax measures.

He said that an agreement has been reached with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to increase electricity and gas prices, which will compound the miseries of poor masses.

The petroleum levy will be gradually increased to Rs30 per litre under the agreement while the burden of hundreds of billions of rupees will be borne by the people after abolishing tax exemptions, he added.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that burdening the masses is the easiest option for the government, which has made life difficult for the Pakistani people.

He said that four major changes have been made in the economic team in three years which were followed by loud claims but no one lived up to expectations and the state of the economy deteriorated instead of improving.

Subsequently, the IMF was asked to handle the sinking economy so that the country would not go bankrupt.

Now the economic managers have been forced to put developmental projects on the backburner and prioritize policy of economic stability over economic growth.

He noted that agriculture is the backbone of the economy which ensures food security, provides livelihood to the rural population and supports many industries including textile, sugar, paper, seeds, pesticides, fertilizers, machinery, equipment, etc.

The share of agriculture in the GDP is 19.2% and the employment of 39% of the people is directly linked to it, but it is not being given the attention it deserves, which is causing problems, he observed.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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