Tuesday November 29, 2022

Pakistan’s growth model only facilitates elite: Miftah

By Our Correspondent
October 04, 2022

KARACHI: Ex-finance minister and PMLN leader Miftah Ismail said Monday Pakistan’s growth model only facilitates one percent elite, making the lives of lower and middle income groups miserable.

“The government has given Rs570 billion worth of loans to them at one percent interest rate to import machinery, however, they also ordered consumables for themselves and their families from abroad, thus inflating the import bill,” he said while speaking at the 37th Corporate Excellence Awards organised by the Management Association of Pakistan (MAP) at a local hotel here on Monday.

He said that Pakistan’s growth model is highly flawed, which gives protection to manufacturers at the cost of value-addition. “We give loans to the rich people and they give a push to imports, which in turn slows down the economy,” said Miftah.

Pakistan does not deserve the imports of $80 billion, with just $30 billion exports and $30 billion remittances. “We have to be export oriented. We haven’t established any brand in exports. We have fundamental issues with our economic policies,” said Miftah.

Besides, he added, Pakistan should also focus on the development of its agriculture sector because it was quite unfortunate that Pakistan has been importing cotton, pulses, edible oil etc.

A day earlier, he also blasted the government for skipping an increase in the petroleum development levy (PDL) for October in contravention to its commitment to loan programme terms. “IMF was sure, though I had a bet with the lender that it wouldn’t happen, that Pakistan would stop adding PDL to the petroleum prices the day the country received the loan tranche,” Miftah said on Sunday.

“I had assured the IMF that I would add the tax. For three months, we added Rs10 on petrol and Rs5 on diesel every month, but the government hasn’t added PDL in the current month’s revision of the petroleum prices.”

He said the PM Shehbaz Sharif’s adviser on establishment Ahad Cheema had asked me to discuss with the IMF MD (managing director) if we could freeze the petrol price for three months.

“I said I would die but not ask this. In any case, I asked the MD if we could freeze the tax for three months. The answer did not arrive and the government unilaterally did it,” he said lamenting.

Talking to the MAP audience, Miftah said Pakistan’s current account deficit turns into a budget deficit and to finance that deficit the governments take loans. “Our private sector does not have required money to finance the deficit, while our provinces are also not helping in this regard.”

He added that provinces have increased their payrolls by 400 percent in the last few years with their officers getting more than 50 percent more salaries than the federal government officers. MAP President Talib Syed Karim said that the 37th Corporate Excellence Awards was a testament to MAP’s forward-looking approach to recognising companies operating with excellence to achieve their goals.

“The Corporate Excellence Awards seek to guide the industry on how to manage capital and resources to become leaders and guide those who want to pursue the same,” he said.

As a leader in good governance in Pakistan, MAP knows the impact of flash floods on our economy. “We need to ascertain a roadmap that creates a viable environment for the corporate sector to put in its flood relief efforts. It is through our shared goals that we will uplift the morale of our country,” he added.

Talking about the major initiatives of MAP, he said it has held 22 annual conventions covering various topics where leading industry experts have been invited to share their views. Sector-wise awards in the Industrial Sector were given to Feroze 1888 Mills, AI-Abbas Sugar mills, Lucky Cement, HubCo, PSO, Mari Petroleum, International Steels, Pakistan Cables, Indus Motor, Thal Ltd, Pakistan International Container Terminal, Fauji Fertilizer Company, Abbott Laboratories, Archroma Pakistan, Security Papers, Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan, and Shifa International Hospitals.

In the financial sector, awards were received by OLP Modaraba, First Habib Modaraba, OLP Financial Services Pakistan, Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan), Jubilee General Insurance, and EFL’ Life Assurance.

The runner-up companies were awarded the certificates of corporate excellence. Certificates in the ‘not for profit sector’ were presented to The Citizens Foundation, LRBT and Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre.