New govt will have to take proactive steps to stabilise economy: PIAF

Trade deficit narrowed by 3.6pc to $1.3b in Dec 2023 compared to $1.9b in same period of 2022 demonstrates positive progress

ISLAMABAD  -  The Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) has stated that the new government will have to take proactive measures to encoun­ter external and domestic chal­lenges, besides stabilising the economy. In a statement issued here today, the PIAF Chairman Faheemur Rehman Saigol said that the upcoming government should be committed to trans­forming the economy of the country, as the process of trans­forming the economy is already underway in the country, ac­knowledging that structural re­forms in every sector takes time.

Faheem Saigol mentioned that the new elected govern­ment will have to take joint ac­tion to combat currency smug­gling and narrow the difference in dollar rates between official and open markets. It is the fact that the interim government has undertaken various initia­tives for the betterment of the country. The trade deficit nar­rowed by 3.6 percent to $1.3 billion in December 2023 com­pared to $1.9 billion in the same period of 2022, demonstrating positive progress. Additionally, he expressed optimism that the government’s efforts would lead to an expansion in export poten­tial and the export market.

He said that the government would encounter the external and domestic challenges, which are enormous but the govern­ment will have to take proactive measures to overcome them. He said that the Pakistan Credit Guarantee Company had been formed for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), empha­sising that the companies had to stand on their own feet and should not rely on subsidies.

He stated that a substantial change should introduce to the FBR to enhance its perfor­mance with a view to raise the economic growth of this coun­try. He said that the economic managers should diligently work on reforms in the FBR and ensure their implementa­tion. He praised the efforts of the caretaker government and urged consultations with the PIAF in the fiscal budget-making process to facilitate the busi­ness community. Faheem Saigol outlined a comprehensive eco­nomic agenda aimed at steer­ing the country towards prog­ress. He emphasised the critical need for a strategic approach to economic development, calling for concerted efforts from both the government and political parties. At the core of national progress lies a well-defined eco­nomic agenda, he stated, under­scoring the importance of a co­hesive plan to put the economy on a track of sustained growth. He stressed that economic sta­bility is paramount for address­ing various societal challenges and fostering an environment conducive to prosperity.

Turning his attention to the international stage, he highlight­ed the need for the country to actively engage with the global market. He argued that tapping into international opportunities is key to unlocking the full po­tential of the economy. Encour­aging businesses to explore and expand their presence in the global arena, he urged policy­makers in the upcoming govern­ment to create an enabling envi­ronment for international trade and investment. Furthermore, he called upon political parties to announce clear and robust economic strategies. He argued that these strategies should not only focus on short-term gains but also encompass a long-term vision for sustained progress. The PIAF chairman emphasised that such transparency from political leaders is crucial for instilling confidence in the busi­ness community and investors.

At the strategic level, he pro­posed a collaborative approach between the government and the business community. He stressed that the government should actively engage with industry stakeholders to for­mulate successful economic strategies. This collaboration is especially crucial in the after math of the Feb 8 elections. Af­ter the polls it is imperative that the government involves the business community in shaping economic policies, he asserted. He argued that aligning the in­terests of the government and businesses is essential for cre­ating an economic framework that is not only robust but also sustainable in the long run.

A cornerstone of the pro­posed economic initiatives is the advocacy for a comprehensive 5-year export policy. He empha­sised that such a policy would provide a roadmap for enhanc­ing the country’s global com­petitiveness. He outlined that a strategic export policy is vital for diversifying the economy, creating job opportunities, and ensuring a steady influx of for­eign exchange. He said that PIAF serves as a rallying cry for a united effort towards economic progress. The call for transpar­ent economic strategies, inter­national engagement, and a col­laborative approach between the government and the busi­ness community underscores the urgency of prioritising eco­nomic development for the col­lective well-being of the nation.

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