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KARACHI: Economic challenges in 2023 were quite bigger but we have seen tremendous progress in agriculture which further needs to be improved massively by adopting latest technology, innovation, mechanism and incentives to farmers said Ateeq-ur-Rehman (economic & financial analyst).

The piled up electricity & gas circular debts have to be eliminated in 2024 in order to minimize the electricity tariffs. On one hand the common man and on the other industries are suffering heavily due to persistent huge utility charges.

He added that this situation has not only disturbed the manufacturing industry but also caused decline in the exports of goods & services, hence paralyzing the economy. The debt management through debt servicing is another serious challenge. In past Bank Borrowing apart from external borrowing has been doubled.

The outstanding debt has been found at a record high of 78% despite regular debt and interest payments. We have to reduce our fiscal and budget deficits by reducing the cost of doing business and eliminating our expenditures, said Ateeq. We always planned to go for Indigenous raw material and Import Substitution Industries but so far not much has been do neon it.

The 98 percent consumed raw material is imported paying custom and other additional duties, thus raising the cost of imported raw material and eventually raising the cost of production.

The ultimate sufferers are the common man and the local consumers.

However, the import substitution Industry is also a victim of higher electricity & gas charges. The importance of producing local raw material is inevitable and unavoidable. The World Bank in their recent report has demanded that action is needed to change the economic policies.

The implementation of the economic policies certainly needs to include reduction in circular debt, electricity tariffs, gas prices, higher interest rates.

The planning of debt management and debt servicing is important and has to be the top priority along with producing locally, the raw material, ensuring growth of exports and import substitution is a must.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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