Businesses call for rapid reforms to stimulate economic recovery

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Businesses in Karachi are still feeling anxious after the elections, with many believing that a significant decrease in power, gas, and interest rates is needed to boost economic activities and attract investors. Ehsan Malik, CEO of the Pakistan Business Council (PBC), stressed the importance of active management in the current faltering economy, and pointed out the inevitability of the 24th IMF program. He highlighted the need for fundamental reforms, such as broadening the tax base and addressing circular debt in the energy sector.

Malik also called for the federal government to renegotiate the NFC Award and reduce expenditure to lower inflation and debt servicing costs. However, he acknowledged the challenges of implementing these measures, especially in a coalition government. He questioned the effectiveness of the Special Investment Facilitation Council in attracting investment, and urged the government to prioritize the country over party interests.

The PBC suggested that stakeholders collaborate to ease tensions and find common ground, emphasizing the deficit of trust as a major issue. Saquib Fayyaz Magoon, senior vice president of the FPCCI, expressed optimism about political and economic uncertainties dissipating post-elections, while Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh, president of the KCCI, highlighted the need for the upcoming government to address high gas and power tariffs.

Mashood Ali Khan, an auto part maker/exporter, emphasized the importance of effective resource allocation and prudent fiscal management in the upcoming budget. He called for immediate action on energy prices and interest rates to stimulate economic activity and build trust among domestic investors. Overall, the business community is hopeful for positive changes in the economic environment post-elections.

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