ISLAMABAD: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President, Ghazanfar Bilour on Sunday expressed annoyance over US opposition to the IMF bailout for Pakistan.
The US efforts to push Pakistan into anarchy has damaged its reputation and it will also hit IMF’s credibility if it failed to take an urgent and merit-based decision, he said.
The way the US is rewarding its ally and a frontline state in the war against terror which has paid a heavy price for siding with America is not going to go down well with the masses and the business community, he added.
Ghazanfar Bilour said that we are still paying the price for US ambitions as three leaders and many people have lost lives during the recent election campaign.
He said that new government is to inherit a critical economic situation and it will have to seek the bailout from the IMF which would be largest in the history of Pakistan.
“The budget deficit has grown constantly pushing the country on the verge of a balance-of-payments crisis threatening political and economic stability, the value of the rupee, ability to repay debts or pay for imports while the US is using the opportunity to squeeze Pakistan which is absolutely uncalled for”, he added.
Pakistan has gone to the IMF repeatedly during the last thirty years. The last time was in 2013 when we got a $6.6 billion loan to tackle a similar crisis but now we need at least $12 billion to avoid an economic meltdown, he noted.
He observed that the tense relationship between Islamabad and Washington, one of the lender’s biggest donors, should not result in actions that cannot be justified under any circumstances.
He noted that China has announced a $2 billion loan for Pakistan, the Islamic Development Bank has activated $4.5 billion facilities for oil imports and a global bank has decided to give $200 million to help finance LNG imports but these are short-term solutions.
The new government should improve the economy and attract foreign investment for which reforms, incentives and a clean government is vital which will push up Pakistan from the 147th number on the World Bank’s business climate index.
The incoming government is considering privatising all state-owned companies, including the PIA but the process should not be undertaken very hastily.