LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber on Friday advised the government to avoid tough IMF conditionalities that would ultimately shrink economy and jack up unemployment graph. Let us work jointly to take the economy out of woods, the LCCI office-bearers suggested to the government in a statement. LCCI President Almas Hyder said that if funding from IMF is necessary, than no harmful conditions like increase in discount rate, more audits for business community and utility price hike should be accepted at any cost.
“It would not be wrong to say that most of Pakistan’s economic woes are just because of haphazardly borrowing from IMF as previous governments accepted their strict conditions without keeping in view the ground realities”, the LCCI President said and added that IMF is working for squeezing the developing countries, not for their economic development. He said that when Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand were facing economic crisis, Malaysia rejected IMF prescribes and came out of the mire within their resources. If Malaysia can do it that why not we?, he questioned.
Almas Hyder said that often, IMF prescriptions like hike in utility prices, withdrawal of subsidies, rise in number of tax audits and hike in discount rates for the industry. He said that discount rate in Pakistan is already at the higher side and further increase would hamper new investments and unemployment graphs would go up. He said that the availability of cheaper money for the businesses is a must to expedite the process of industrialization.
The LCCI President said that cost of doing business would swell if strict conditions of IMF are accepted. He said that there are 10 indicators for Ease of Doing Business about government’s rules and regulations. He said that doing business has become a most difficult task in the presence of these rules.
Almas Hyder expressed the optimism that the country would be able to overcome its economic challenges even without IMF.
Senior Vice President Khawaja Shahzad Nasir and Vice President Faheem-ur-Rehman Saigal said that because of a large number duties and taxes in Pakistan, our cost of raw material is higher than the finished goods of China. They said that manufacturing sector cannot be competitive at the existing tariffs, taxes and duties. They said that difference between filer and non-filer has shrunk the market as there is a difference between taxpayer and filer. They said that stakeholders from agriculture sector, tribal area and people having a certain salary are not filer.