- Former FBR chief says three minutes of his speech have been 'cherry-picked'
Former chairperson of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Shabbar Zaidi on Thursday said that his address, which has since gone viral, is being "misreported".
“My speech in Hamdard University is being misreported,” tweeted Zaidi. He said that his presentation was 1.5 hours long, however, only three minutes "have been cherry-picked".
“Yes I said that with this constant current account and fiscal deficit there are issues of bankruptcy and going concern but look at the solution,” said Zaidi.
The statement comes after Zaidi, during a wide-ranging address at Hamdard University, said Pakistan at the moment was "a bankrupt entity".
“In accounting language, Pakistan at present is not in a going concern position,” said Zaidi.
“We may say that we have made a lot of progress, or the country is running smoothly but that is wrong. In my view, the country at the moment is bankrupt. It is better to admit that the country is bankrupt and now it is time to fix it,” Zaidi said.
However, despite clarifying that the remarks were taken out of context, Zaidi says, “What I said was with a basis and conviction,” he said while urging people to listen to his entire speech.
However, Zaidi controversial remarks did not sit well with many including Ministry of Finance Spokesperson, Muzzammil Aslam, who questioned Zaidi on his statements.
“With all due respect, how do you figure out we are bankrupt? This is big statement whether taking in context or out of context. It’s not enough to say the matter is being misreported,” said Aslam in a tweet post.
Zaidi replied that if the media is reporting a part without context “then I am not responsible”.
Zaidi said that he is not a politician, but someone who knows economics. “The situation in Pakistan is not good. Read the whole presentation,” he said.
Pakistan is currently embroiled in a difficult economic situation with the currency currently sitting at its all-time low against the US dollar in the inter-bank market. Its current account deficit has beat the central bank's expectations on the back of a high import bill, which the government says is due to international commodity prices.
Inflation has already hit 11.5%, prompting the central bank to raise interest rates by another 100 basis points. In the last three meetings, the State Bank of Pakistan has cumulatively increase the key policy rate by 275 basis points, taking it to 9.75%.