Unpopular Government Decisions Restore Confidence in International Institutions, Says Mian Zahid Hussain

Lahore, Mian Zahid Hussain, Chairman of the National Business Group Pakistan and President of the Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, acknowledged that while recent government and central bank decisions have been unpopular and challenging for the public and business community, they have succeeded in restoring international confidence and stabilizing the economy.

According to Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, Mian Zahid Hussain remarked that the tough measures taken by the government led to a reduction in pressure on foreign exchange reserves and the local currency, and a significant decrease in the current account deficit. He cited a $9 million surplus in the current account for November, attributing this to a stringent monetary policy and controlled imports, which collectively lessened demand and positively impacted foreign exchange reserves.

Hussain also noted that the current account deficit for the first five months of the year stood at $1.16 billion, a considerable reduction from $3.26 billion in the same period last year. He expressed optimism that, with continued fiscal prudence, the annual deficit might not exceed $4.5 billion, marking a success for policymakers.

Despite these improvements, Hussain emphasized that economic growth has stalled due to these measures, affecting the business environment and employment opportunities. He urged for increased exports, understanding the reasons behind the decrease in remittances, and restoring confidence among expatriates. Additionally, he called for a crackdown on illegal financial transactions to ensure remittances are channeled legally into the country.

Hussain stressed that along with administrative measures, comprehensive reforms are needed, including the sale of failing government institutions, reductions in oil, gas, and electricity prices, better incentives for investors, and the elimination of terrorism. He also highlighted the need to boost agricultural and industrial production and underscored the importance of political stability to attract investment and foster economic growth.

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