IMF agreement is inevitable for Pakistan, but putting all the burden on the business community will be harmful-Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari

  • June 27, 2023
President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari has said that the steps taken by the government to make the negotiations with the IMF successful will prove to be disastrous for the troubled country’s economy. Measures like collection of additional taxes, one percent increase in interest rate, withdrawal of one year amnesty for bringing dollars into the country will hamper the journey started for economic recovery. An agreement with the International Financial Institution is inevitable, but the government will have to take decisions keeping in mind the country’s economic recovery. The business community has been supportive of the government’s initiatives, but the government should not adopt such an attitude that will worsen the already difficult situation for business.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, he said that the business community across the country, including the Islamabad Chamber, had demanded the government to reduce the interest rate in the budget proposals, which was supported by the parliamentary committees including Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, but now As soon as the budget is approved, the State Bank has increased the interest rate by one percent. This decision will bring more difficult times for the already troubled Pakistani economy. Pakistan’s industry is already facing the highest interest rates among the regional countries. In these conditions, it will be impossible to run the industry. He said that while the production will decrease due to the increase in interest rate, employment opportunities will also decrease due to the industry being affected.

In the budget, the federal government had announced a one-year amnesty to meet the shortage of dollars in the country, which has now been withdrawn, which is not a correct move. Pakistan’s currency problems have worsened over the past one year. Currency stability will only come when the country is no longer short of dollars. It was a good scheme by the government but there will be disadvantages in withdrawing it. It was the best opportunity to provide facilities to those who want to bring back dollars. He said that Pakistan’s property and construction sector is working beyond its capacity to meet the needs of employment, revenue and housing.

The government had taken the best decision by giving incentives in the budget, but now the tax on this sector has been increased which is harmful for development. Instead of collecting more revenue from people already in the tax net, the government should take steps to increase the tax net. In this regard, the Islamabad Chamber has suggested several measures. The business community of Pakistan believes that the IMF agreement is indispensable for the country. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has negotiated with the IMF as a real national leader and spokesman for the aspirations of the Pakistani nation.

He emerged as a true national hero by not compromising on national interests during the long period of negotiations, but it is our misfortune that at last he also had to accept the tough conditions of the IMF to save the country economically. The business community believes that the trust of friendly countries and international organizations will be restored by the IMF agreement, but instead of putting the entire burden of this agreement on the people or the business community, the government should find a middle way. He said that to get out of the economic crisis, the government Formulate short, mid and long term policy.