Monday March 20, 2023

‘The elite will have to sacrifice to improve economy’

By Our Correspondent
February 06, 2023

LAHORE:The elite and the rich class will have to sacrifice their resources and aspirations instead of commoners to improve the difficult economic situation and the growing uncertainty in Pakistan. It is the need of the hour to ration the petrol supply to the vehicles and stop free petrol quota to all public sector authorities’ vehicles.

These views were expressed by the discussants in the Jang Economic Session on “Continuous rise in petrol price and rupee devaluation - who is responsible - what is solution”. The panelists were Huzaima Bukhari, Azeem Bari, Dr Ikram-ul-Haq, Amir Zia, Khawaja Atif, and Shahid Zaheer while moderated by Sikindar Lodhi.

Huzaima Bukhari said that opposition should let government complete the tenure as situation is critical now. The poor public is depressed because of inflation, hike in edibles prices and sub-standard flour is being supplied to them. However, import of thousands of luxury vehicles and non-development expenditures are not stopped.

Azeem Bari said that Pakistan was moving towards more destruction. The situation demands to end the political chaos and make a charter of economy. God has gifted Pakistan with all natural resources while there is need of growth-oriented policy to move ahead.

Dr Ikram-ul-Haq said Pakistan needed debate and research as it had faced such crisis before as well. There is need to uproot the disease rather to treat temporarily. The situation is getting out of control and growing inflation is also a type of tax. Pakistan needs to train the human resource to run the economy as country never faced shortage of resources. Pakistan is not investing in skill-based education while India invested in it and will become world third largest economy very soon. Corridor access to India will bring foreign exchange to Pakistan.

Amir Zia said Pakistan lacking policy making while trade deficit is growing with exports as one dollars’ export needs 2.2 dollar imports which created trade imbalance and devaluing the local currency against the USD. Pakistan needs to make policies for national interest and promote the services sector instead of production. There is need to end uncertainty to increase investment. Good business ties with neighbouring countries will be good for Pakistan.

Khawaja Atif said that Pakistan was moving directionless while petrol is the largest imported item in country. Now Pakistan is looking to import oil from Russia at time of default while this decision could be made decade ago as well. In future, petrol will sell equivalent to dollar rate and situation will further worsen. The government should sacrifice now.

Shahid Zaheer said that Pakistan depends on imported fuel and producing electricity with it which is very much expensive. Pakistan did not make dams in last three to four decades, ignored the agriculture, IT, pharmaceutical and other sectors so now importing wheat and other items too. Devaluation increased the inflation. The uncertainty is prevailing in the society while elite has hoarded the dollars. The government instead of increasing petrol prices do rationing of it in future and stop asking sacrifice from the general public.