LAHORE: The Friends of Business and Economic Reforms President Kashif Anwar observed that frequent raises in energy rates on behest of the IMF would make the Pakistani products uncompetitive in the international market. He said that industry is the main victim of this IMF interference, as donors’ involvement in the Pakistan’s economic matters and dictations to the policy makers for taking harsh measures would add to the economic miseries of the country.
He appealed Prime Minister Imran Khan to withdraw the unwise decision to raise electricity tariff by 15%, as it would tarnish the government’s export friendly policies and put a deathblow on the exports, foreign exchange earnings and the most labor-intensive sector.
He observed that the hike in base power tariff will not only have a devastating impact on the export-oriented industries but would also terribly disturb the local production of general industries, besides sabotaging all the efforts being made by the government to enhance the volume of exports.
He said that Pakistan is the most frequent customer of IMF and 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.
Kashif Anwar said that the IMF wanted the government to get the Electric Power Act bill in the National Assembly passed, enabling the government to pass on its cost of inefficiency and theft to the power consumers through imposition of surcharges, which is totally unjust.
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.
FEBR President 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 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 to get rid of dependence on foreign loans.
He said that trade and industry is the backbone of the economy, which generates more than 90 percent of the government’s total resources. Therefore it can make a great contribution in turning Pakistan into one of the greatest nations in the world provided due facilitation and an enabling business atmosphere are ensured, he added.