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KARACHI: Ex-finance minister Shaukat Tarin said the country is heading towards default, which may compromise its strategic interests.

Speaking to newsmen at the Karachi Press Club, the PTI senator said the Sensitive Price Index — which measures the average change in the prices of most essential goods — is likely to hit 35-40 per cent “within the next few weeks”.

“They’re crushing the middle class. They’re rolling back welfare schemes like Sehat Cards and Kamyab Jawan programme. They’re headmasters of the University of the Incompetent,” he said.

Contrary to the claims of the coalition government, he insisted there was zero generation shortfall on April 30. However, the “imported government” failed to account for rising power demand and didn’t order fuel on time, he said. As a result, nationwide loadshedding reached 7,500-8,000 megawatts in June with a generation shortfall of 5,277MW.

“If we were in government, we’d arrange the funds and avoid loadshedding at all costs. But their thinking is to save money by simply not purchasing fuel. They don’t care about the people suffering endless hours of loadshedding.”

He said textile exports in July will drop by $1 billion. Small and medium-size enterprises will suffer even more once the latest hike takes the benchmark interest rate to the 13-year high of 15pc. “Textiles, autos and mobile manufacturing are bearing the brunt of the government’s incompetence,” he said.

He accused the government of looking the other way while speculators in the currency market — namely banks, exchange companies and exporters — play havoc with the exchange rate.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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