BY: Zehra Zahid
Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain said on Friday that exports and remittances are continuously decreasing.
Imports are increasing due to the agreement with the IMF to lift the ban on imports, which is eating up the forex reserves.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the current account deficit is widening due to increased imports, the demand for dollars is increasing in proportion, and the value of the rupee is depreciating rapidly, which leads to electricity, gas, and price inflation.
Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that all these factors are increasing the cost of living and the cost of doing business, and the masses as well as businessmen are worried.
He said that steps must be taken to increase exports and remittances to prevent the fall of the rupee.
The business leader said that due to the falling value of the rupee, people are transferring their savings to the dollar, which has further increased its demand. Currently, the dollar is being sold in the market for up to 312 rupees, and there is a possibility of a further increase.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the rupee has lost 25 percent of its value since the beginning of this year. After the approval of the loan of three billion dollars by the IMF, while the risk of Pakistan’s default was reduced, there was temporary stability in the value of the rupee. Still, now it has started to decline again.
Economists at the time said that this stability was temporary and that the decline would start again soon if reforms were delayed, and it has, he noted.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that unless heavy losses in the electricity and gas sectors are eliminated, failed government enterprises are sold, and tax collections are increased by increasing the tax base, the decline of the rupee will continue.
Erosion in the value of local currency will increase inflation, while the problems of the people and the business community will continue to multiply.
Mian Zahid Hussain further said that the 71% capacity charges included in the electricity bills have skyrocketed the tariff.
Mian Zahid Hussain further said that people worried about the current situation are burning electricity bills in some places and torturing the officials of electricity companies, which must be noticed.
Immediate treatment of the deadly diseases affecting the economy is necessary, for which an economic council consisting of all parties should be formed to support the caretaker government in the required economic reforms that can improve the situation.