KARACHI: Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, Mian Zahid Hussain has said that ten months have passed since the suspension of the IMF programme, our foreign exchange reserves are touching the lowest level and the imports are also being stopped due to shortage of foreign exchange.
Now that all hopes for the restoration of the IMF program seem to be fading, the government should take the people and the business community into confidence on its ‘Plan B’ to save the country from default and restore the economy so that the market uncertainty can be addressed, he demanded
He said that the current EFF program of IMF is ending in a week and now the chances of a tranche are slim.
As a result of Prime Minister Mian Shehbaz Sharif’s meeting with IMF MD, if the suspended loan is granted, then both the international organization and Pakistan will have to take special measures to do so, he added.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the IMF will have to withdraw from some of its conditions and Pakistan will also have to make changes in the federal budget.
He said that the finance minister Ishaq Dar has already said that the IMF is looking at the issue of Pakistan geopolitically, which seems to be correct to some extent.
He that apart from Prime Minister, the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is also meeting the ambassadors of America and important countries in a bid to restore the program. He said that the government has fulfilled most of the conditions of the IMF, but compared to the financial requirements of six billion dollars, 4 billion dollars have been arranged. The finance minister has also clarified that national interests cannot be sacrificed for the IMF, in which case the IMF’s inflexible attitude makes it impossible to revive the program, he said.
He said that due to the IMF, Pakistan has increased the interest rate to 21 percent, the petroleum levy has been increased to 50 rupees per litre, the value of the rupee has also been reduced; but the lender is still not satisfied.
The IMF has also described the current budget as going against the basic terms of its program, which include increasing the tax base and reforming failed public institutions.
One of the reasons for losses to the economy is that instead of implementing reforms in any sector including the energy sector and reducing losses, the government increases the tariff, which affects the people and the economy. Instead of reducing the deficit in the power sector, its price is being increased again and again, but instead of improving the situation, it is getting worse.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023