KARACHI: As the country grapples with severe economic challenges, the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) is in consultation process with trade bodies, chambers and business associations to draft a much-needed ‘Charter of Economy’, so as to push political stakeholders to keep economy and politics separate from each other.
The apex trade body held its 3rd national consultative conference of chambers and associations to draft the ‘national economic plan’ and agenda for ‘charter of economy’ here at the Federation House.
The conference saw overwhelming participation from the representatives of chambers, trade bodies and business associations, on Tuesday.
President FPCCI Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that once the charter of economy is signed by business community, it will then be signed by all political parties and the government. This charter is important to steer the country out of socioeconomic and political crises. He said the country is facing chronic socioeconomic woes due to politically-motivated economic policies, over the time. He said reserves touched the level not sufficient to cover a month imports. All economic indicators are negative. We are facing current account and fiscal deficits, power sector circular debts have touched Rs 2500 billion, exports and remittances are declining, he said.
The revenue target of Rs 7,470 million doesn’t seem to be achieved. Our friendly countries seem reluctant to support us. Under such grim circumstances, we are left with no other option but to approach IMF. “Economy should be preferred over politics,” Iqbal said.
Dr Usama Ehsan Khan from Policy Advisory Board of FPCCI in his detailed presentation on ‘national economic plan, a way towards the charter of economy’ said that the country’s GDP growth rate is predicted to 3.5 percent in fiscal year 2023. Floods caused economic losses reached over $30 billion. National poverty rate has increased from 4.5 percent to 7 percent, while the IMF prescribed measures mostly turned counterproductive.
He said that the charter of economy has been a long-standing demand of business community, and FPCCI has proposed a set of areas where the government should work seriously. These areas include energy security, public finance management and monetary policy, foreign exchange management, trade and investment, national food security and agriculture sector sustainability.
For indigenization of the power sector, the draft suggests that all successive government shall strictly adhere to the IGCEP plan which aims to achieve 90 percent self-sufficiency. Govern-ment shall gradually move away from cross-subsidization, adopt competitive tariffs and privatize discos to ensure affordable and sustainable electricity. FPCCI’s Senior Vice President Shabbir Mansha Chura, Former President Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo, Policy Advisory Board’s Chairman Mohammad Younus Dagha, business leader Zakaria Usman, and others were also present on this occasion.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023