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KARACHI: Chairman of National Business Group (NBG) Pakistan and president Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, Mian Zahid Hussain said the government claims to increase wealth but its policies are increasing poverty, an example of which is a 22 percent cut in the federal development budget.

He noted that because of the wave of inflation the price of stocks with the wholesalers has increased by billions of rupees but the purchasing power of the people has run out hitting sales.

A country cannot grow if the purchasing power of the people is depleted, he said, adding that the purchasing power of the people will be further affected due to recent policies. It will shut many projects and businesses down which will further aggravate the economic situation, he added.

A sharp rise in prices of construction materials have hit housing projects hard and only big companies are completing their projects while small and medium-sized companies are waiting for the situation to turn normal.

He expressed concern over increasing imports which have become a threat to the economy.

Unabated imports are proving to be a poison for the national economy but instead of reducing them, it is being increased, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the policy of increased imports is beyond the comprehension of the people and the business community, and as a result, panic, anxiety and uncertainty are spreading.

Mian Zahid Hussain said despite the precarious situation of the country’s economy, the monthly imports have exceeded seven billion dollars.

According to official figures, the combined November and December imports are now $15.5 billion, which is enough to destabilise the struggling economy.

The average imports for the six months before November and December was around $6 billion a month which has increased substantially resulting in a panic in the market.

He said November’s imports of petroleum and crude were 2.8 million tonnes, which was at least one million tonnes more than usual, which should be explained as it cost an additional $600 million.

Similarly, the import bill for medicines has also increased by seven hundred million dollars which is astonishing.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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