ISLAMABAD - The business community on Sunday urged the top leadership of all mainstream political parties to sit together brushing aside differences to evolve a viable strategy to steer the country out of current worrisome economic crunch plaguing the industry.

Talking to a delegation of industrialists and traders led by President Pakistan Furniture Importers Association Mian Faryad Ahmad Raza, the Coordinator to Federal Tax Ombudsman and Minister of State Meher Kashif Younis said the deepening political turmoil is one of the major factor responsible for economic instability as depreciation is taking heavy tool on stock investors, currency markets crying out for dollars amid liquidity crunch and recording the highest ever weekly inflation spike.

He said due to domestic political upheaval, a surging current account deficit amid depleting dollar inflows from multinational and bilateral lenders as well as shrinking foreign investments have brought the foreign exchange reserves and rupees under enormous pressure over the last several months, stoked rapid inflation, forced the State Bank to boost borrowing costs to a multi-year high and eroded investors confidence in the country. He said its admitted fact worldwide that political stability is pre-requisite for sustainable sound economy that’s also promise survival of the country.

Meher Kashif Younis said Pakistan’s current account deficit has surged to $17.4 billion equivalent to 4.6 percent the size of economy during the last fiscal year on the rising trade deficit, in spite of multiple actions taken by the government and the SBP since last quarters of 2021 to restrict imports. He said the growth in exports and remittances of expats did somewhat help narrow the yawning gap but elevated global commodity and oil prices meant that Pakistan would spend more on its energy and other imports that doubled oil import bill to $2.9 billion in June from $1.4 billion in May.

Meher Kashif Younis said with the hope IMF releasing funds soon thus unlocking additional financing from other multilateral and bilateral creditors, Pakistan’s external sectors may likely perk up in the short term. However, in prevailing scenario, it’s not permanent solution what’s we need is uninterrupted consistency in our economic policies irrespective change of government.

Current account deficit has surged to $17.4 billion

He feared that it will be unfortunate if the top political leaders don’t shrink differences and come on one page saving fragile economy from total collapse in the larger national interests and fails to address structural impediments to exports and FDI because of the grave political instability being witnessed at the moment, he added.

He suggested that complete ban should continue on all luxury and other items manufactured in Pakistan and also made an impassioned appeal especially to government and people particularly switching over simple life by strictly observing austerity in line with cardinal teachings of Islam.

Survival of country depends

on economic, political

stability: PFC chief

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC), while presiding over a meeting of Board of Directors (BoD) here on Sunday, said that survival of any country exclusively depended on sound economy and political stability.

Taking stock of a host of looming economic issues being confronted by corporate sector, traders and business community in the wake of ever increasing prices of petroleum products, power, gas tariff, interest rate and inflation, the CEO said that the prevailing alarming situation warranted immediate attention of all political parties to forge unity among their ranks at least on national issue of worsening economy, and workout a viable solution as to how the national economy could be taken out of turmoil.  He said that it was an accepted practice in the civilised world that the opposition always extended helping hand to the ruling party when supreme national interests were at stake; therefore, the political parties in Pakistan must also demonstrate the same maturity, spirit, responsible attitude and flexibility to steer the country out of severe economic crunch and political instability.

Kashif said that the people of Pakistan were looking towards the political parties to play their vital role at the critical juncture, and live up to the expectations of the people by displaying a sense of devotion to the nation. They should set aside their petty personal interests for the sake of supreme national interests.