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KARACHI: Chairman of the National Business Group Pakistan and President of Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum Mian Zahid Hussain has said that without radical changes in government policies, the country cannot attain progress and prosperity.

He said that with better policies the quality of life of the people can be improved, and they can play a vibrant role in the development of the country. The economic policies “made for the benefit of members of the elite have bankrupted the country”.

The country will have no future until the policies are focused on the welfare of the people and equitable distribution of wealth is ensured.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that policies that push resources from the bottom up make the poor poorer and leave them unable to play any role in the country's development.

He said that the majority of the capital is flowing toward non-productive sectors instead of industry and agriculture which will never allow the national development.

He lauded the policy of improving relations with the United States, terming it in the national interest because it is the major export market of Pakistan; seventeen percent of exports are consumed in this market and the overall trade balance has been in favour of Pakistan since the mid-1990s.

However, he said, the balance of trade in agricultural products is in favour of the United States.

For many decades, the policymakers in Pakistan have been focusing on expanding the tax net, but it has not been able to increase it and Pakistan collects 4000 billion rupees less in taxes than the world standard. If the POS, i.e., Point of Sales system is effectively implemented, the tax net will automatically increase and poverty will also decrease, he observed.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that at present all policymaking is limited to accounting and revolves around the twin deficits. In the electricity and gas sectors, there is a deficit of 800 billion rupees per year and 600 megawatts of electricity is lost or stolen every day.

Government institutions will continue to lose 600 billion rupees annually, until the big holes are closed; the problems will not be solved but will increase because our economy will not continue without major changes.

For change, energy and agricultural import substitution is necessary so that resources could be spent on health, education, clean drinking water, transport, and other sectors, he suggested.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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