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May 23, 2019

ICCI calls for steps to overcome rising fiscal deficit

National

May 23, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) has called upon the government to take measures for overcoming the rising fiscal deficit that has crossed Rs1.92 trillion during the first nine months (July-March) of current fiscal year as growing deficit would further weaken the economy and create more problems for the country.

Ahmed Hassan Moughal, President; Rafat Farid, Senior Vice President, and Iftikhar Anwar Sethi, Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said that during the first nine months of current fiscal year, government made total expenditures of over Rs5.50 trillion while its total revenue remained around Rs3.58 trillion which showed that government remained unsuccessful in controlling expenditures and improving revenue generation. They said it was the highest fiscal deficit in first nine months during the last 10 years. They said such state of affairs was raising many questions on the performance of the current government.

Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that during last quarter (January-March 2019), government expenditure touched Rs900 billion while revenue remained far short of desired level, which should be a cause of concern for the policymakers.

He said that deficit made significant jump despite a steep fall of 34 percent in development spending in the first nine months of the fiscal year, which was not a healthy sign for economy. He said that big cut in development spending also caused slowdown in business activities as the growth of businesses was directly linked with increase in development spending.

ICCI President said that value of rupee was falling day by day that would further enhance inflation, debt servicing and overall fiscal deficit. He stressed that government should devise a comprehensive strategy to stabilise the value of currency as depreciating rupee has disturbed all business plans of private sector and created an atmosphere of uncertainty for investors.

He emphasised that the government should consult with business leaders and all stakeholders to devise a future strategy in order to end uncertainty in market and create a conducive environment for business activities that was the only way forward for economic revival of Pakistan.

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