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SMEs facing difficulties to do business in Pakistan, Hafiz Pasha

Lahore: Dr. Hafiz A. Pasha it has became more difficult for businesses particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to do business in Pakistan.
While giving the key note lecture, ‘The Economy of Tomorrow’ organized by FES and SDPI, he said the economy of Pakistan is going through a roller coaster ride.”Our economy is in the process of incipient financial crises”, he added.\
Dr. Hafiz further added that the past two shocks that Pakistan faced in 2003 and 2008 were result of sudden shocks and incredibly high increase in the oil prices. However, the crisis that Pakistan is likely to face in the near future will be the outcome of structural factors impacting on the economy, he added. He also highlighted the issue of state capture by the extravagant elites of Pakistan which followed by failure of the government. With the assumption of Pakistan having a normal process of democracy Dr. Pasha proposed two way forwards; first, opting for bail-out program by IMF, secondly for once, initiate a common economic agenda of self-reliance through political consensus.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Vaqar Ahmed highlighted that the economy in 2018 will be faced with multifarious issues. He said the country’s borrowing requirements will increase as government’s expenditure needs, including circular debt expands on account of energy sector inefficiencies. Furthermore import payments for the first four months of the current fiscal year have also grown and are projected to outstrip the export or remittances growth. In order to avoid a bailout from the IMF or other foreign sources, the government is expected to raise further debt through Sukuk or euro bonds. He further said that the year 2017 was also a year of missed reform opportunities, he added.
He also informed that the most notable loss during this meeting is the reduced interest of China in prioritizing Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Baluchistan which requires SEZ the most was not helped by the federal government towards feasibility preparation. Hence no SEZ for Baluchistan has been prioritized under CPEC for the time being.
Dr. Aliya H. Khan, she emphasized the use of available resources and statistics to create an economic agenda. However, she gave the audience a question to think about as to what CPEC will be doing for the huge youth bulge of the country along with how it helps in unbalanced regional development of the nation.

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