Pakistan needs to chalk out economic development plans to get rid of IMF: Iftikhar Malik

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LAHORE: SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry , Senior
Vice President and United Business Group (UBG) central chairman Iftikhar Ali Malik Friday vociferously opposing the idea of knocking the door of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged the Finance Minister designated Asad Umar to chalk out comprehensive economic development plans to boost trade activities inside the country and not aid since the latter fosters dependency.
In this regard, Iftikhar Malik convened the meeting of the core committee of UBG on 12 August (Sunday) to ponder over the current economic woes of the country and garner suggestions from the leading businessmen to sort out the mess posing severe threat to trade, industry and the country as a whole. He said this unprecedented unfavorable state of affairs warrants the
government and private sector to sit together and think how to emancipate the country from the hard conditions of IMF and how the available domestic resources could be used to get the optimum results which save the sinking economy.
He said if the coming PTI government would follow IMF Reforms Agenda, it will further deform the economy, as it includes rise in the tariff of gas and electricity, rupee to be further devalued, slapping tax on agriculture and elimination of subsidies which will result in closing down of industries, increasing ratio of unemployment and price hike since 200 textile mills are closed already in the country.
“Many reform measures proposed by IMF have been undertaken and completed over the last 25 years, but these have shown little result in moving the economy to higher and sustained growth and some of the reform measures undertaken under IMF tutelage added to Pakistan’s current woes. It was under IMF advice in the mid-1990s that Pakistan opened up its capital account. This has led to the massive flight of illegal capital to the Gulf and beyond and continues to do so,” he added.
Iftikhar Malik said there is no significant improvement on the social front. This is because a major share of foreign assistance goes to repayment of loans and debt servicing and very little is spent on education, infrastructure, healthcare, population welfare and other social spheres. He urged the coming PTI government to revisit policy with the world, especially the United States and prefer trade and investment rather than banking on aid for strengthening national economy fractured in fight against terror for the more than one decade.
He said the United States is Pakistan’s largest bilateral trading partner. He said it would be in the interest of both the countries to enhance their trade volume which had been hovering around $5 billion for the last five years.

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