ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
Muhammad Shakeel Munir, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) has welcomed the IMF’s staff-level agreement with Pakistan and termed it a positive development as it would pave way for the release of much-awaited over USD 1 billion to Pakistan and improve its foreign exchange reserves. However, he said that the economy of Pakistan was facing very serious problems as its foreign exchange reserves were fast depleting amid rising external debt servicing, which required some out of the box solutions to address such problems. He said this while addressing a meeting of ICCI Executive Committee.
Muhammad Shakeel Munir said that Pakistan’s external debt servicing has reportedly increased to over $10 billion in the first three quarters of 2021-22 compared to $13.38 billion in the entire financial year 2021. He said that Pakistan needed urgent help for its external debt-servicing obligations that are reportedly projected to be $23 billion in 2022-2023. He said this situation demanded that the government in consultation with stakeholders should devise a new policy to boost exports in order to improve its foreign reserves.
ICCI President said that the government in consultation with the private sector should formulate a new strategy in order to generate indigenous resources and get rid of IMF loans as the tough conditions of IMF have always pushed up the prices of gas, electricity and POL products, slashed subsidies & tax exemptions and created more difficulties for the business community and the general public. He said that in its 75 years of existence, Pakistan has gone to the IMF 22 times, which showed that successive governments have failed to make Pakistan stand on its own feet. He said that frequent borrowings from the IMF have piled up a huge foreign debt burden on Pakistan, which is making the future of our generations bleaker and time has come that the policymakers should think seriously about reducing the country’s reliance on foreign loans.
Jamshaid Akhtar Sheikh Senior Vice President and Muhammad Faheem Khan Vice President ICCI said that the governments of many countries including Turkey, Bangladesh, India and others have got rid of IMF loans by adopting prudent economic policies and it is the high time that the government should make efforts to exploit indigenous resources to stabilize the economy. They said that the government should take measures to promote ease of doing business and focus on creating a conducive business environment to generate more indigenous resources that would enable the country to become self-sufficient instead of relying on foreign borrowing to run its economy.