IMF interference in economic matters mother of ills

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Salim Ahmed

Lahore

Economy is inching towards point of no return due to disturbing interference of International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the Pakistani economy therefore people sitting on the helm of affairs must revisit economic policies.
“I had identified 25 sectors to overcome trade deficit. I am working day in and day out to help jack-up exports and curtail imports”, the LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said. He said that industry is the main victim of deepening economic crisis. Rupee devaluation is adding to the economic miseries of the country and all these ills produced just because of awful interference of IMF in the Pakistan’s economic matters and dictations to the policy makers for taking harsh measures.
The LCCI president said that Pakistan is the “most frequent customer” of IMF and Pakistani governments often depended on borrowing from IMF and accepted stringent conditions despite the fact that this institution is merciless money lender which always forced Pakistan to adopt bad policies like rupee devaluation, massive increases in the electricity and gas prices.
“How a country can take independent decisions and grow its economy when it is carrying the burden of over 85 billions dollars debs and utilizing huge part of the federal budget for debt servicing”, the LCCI President questioned.
He said that Pakistan would be loser in many heads if immediate measures are not taken to get rid of the massive loans which are the mother of most of the economic ills. He said that though it is a tough but not impossible task as if Turkey can do it than why we cannot.
The LCCI office-bearers Malik Tahir Javaid, Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid and Vice President Zeshan Khalil retrieved their demand for permanent Finance Minister. They said that at present, the portfolio of Finance Minister is under the Prime Minister’s control as per cabinet rules. They said that the country is witnessing an unstable economic situation. They said that business community understands well that there is no overnight solution of the economic problems but there is a dire need to set directions and to introduce economic reforms in the favor of trade and industry. They said that country should have a permanent Finance Minister in the vogue of economy. They said that country faced various economic challenges in last year including decline in exports & foreign direct investment, lowest tax-to-GDP ratio and inefficiency of Public Sector Entities but these challenged can be coped through meaningful partnership and dialogues between the government and the private sector.
While giving the formula for economic independence, they said there are a number of issues that must be tackled on priority, the biggest one is how to keep the momentum of growth in the wake of a less than targeted growth of the Agriculture and the Manufacturing sector. The second one is the widening gap between exports and imports that could be contained by enhancing exports.
They said that that the government would also have to focus on agriculture, manufacturing sector, education, water, human resources, minerals, public health, tax collection system and end of corruption should be focused to get rid of economic worries.
The LCCI office-bearers said that the agriculture is the largest sector of Pakistan as around 43% labor was dependent upon the agriculture. They said that this largest sector needs revolutionary reforms on war footing. They said that growth of agriculture sector would not only ensure food security and provision of raw material to the larges export-oriented industry textile but would also generate huge revenue for the government and vast employment opportunities.
They said that country’s population is growing at the rate of 2.10 percent every year and if this growth continues for next two decades, population would cross the mark of 240 million. They said that Pakistan needs to increase the yield per acre on steady pace therefore government should plan to bring that about 9 million hectors of fertile land under cultivation which is remained useless just because of shortage of water.
The LCCI office-bearers said that shortage of water is one of the biggest challenges being faced by the country. He said that million acres land could be brought under cultivation by constructing the Kalabagh dam therefore Kalabagh Dam should be one of the priorities of the government.
They said that the education was the most top agenda of the government as it is the major force of development, progress and prosperity.
They said that Pakistan was enriched with the mineral resources worth trillion dollars that can make the dream of economic stability true. These resources should be fully utilized for economic uplift of the country and local companies should be given priority for mining.
The LCCI office-bearers said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry would continue to play its due role and supplement the government endeavors aimed at economic revival of the country and had already started spade work to this regard to identify the challenges being faced by the trade & industry.
They also stressed the need for developing regional, product specific and target oriented marketing strategy. New markets and new products need to be explored to reduce country’s dependence on few commodities and countries. Pakistan’s exports are highly concentrated in few items. Such concentration in few markets can also become a source for instability in export earnings. He said that Trade Development Authority should be revamped and private sector representation should be there so that the exports could be increased.

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