ICCI shows concerns over IMF’s tough conditions for bailout package


ISLAMABAD:    Ahmed Hassan Moughal President, RafatFarid Senior Vice President and Iftikhar Anwar Sethi Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry have shown concerns over the tough conditions of IMF for bailout packagethat would add to the miseries of business community and the general public and lead to further slowdown in the economic activities in the country. They said that IMF bailout package of $6 billion was conditioned with increasing electricity and gas tariffs, further enhancing interest rates and ending various subsidies. They said that implementation of these conditions would further enhance the cost of doing business, increase inflation, curtail purchasing power of people. All these measures would have negative impact on the growth of business activities and reduction in economic growth of the country.
Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that over the last 60 years, Pakistan has obtained 21 loans from IMF with cumulative amount of over $ 27 billion. But instead of strengthening our economy, these loans have badly trapped Pakistan in the quagmire of rising debts as the total debts and liabilities of Pakistan have crossed Rs.33 trillion. They said that instead of payment of principal amount of debt, Pakistan has now to take more debt to pay interest on already taken debts which showed that instead of making the country strong, these debts have further weakened our economy and plunged it into multiple problems.
ICCI President urged that government should avoid imposing further taxes on taxpayers under the pressure of IMF and focus on broadening the tax base to improve its revenue. He said that government was annually spending Rs.400 to Rs.500 billion to keep the lossmaking public sector enterprises in operation due to which fiscal deficit was increasing. He said to cover the deficit, government was used to impose more taxes on taxpayers and increase utility tariffs for business community and the general public. He emphasized that government should reduce its reliance on foreign debts to run the country and focus on generating indigenous resources to enable the country to stand on its own feet. He said that debts were making our future generations heavily indebted and it was high time that government should shun this practice and try to operate within its own resources in order to save the posterity from further troubles.