LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) on Monday termed Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s performance unsatisfactory and urged him to deliver fast to put the country’s economy in the right direction.

“This is a fact that he couldn’t come up to our expectations and perhaps he couldn’t deliver due to the much deteriorated economic situation,” LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir told journalists at a press conference held on the eve of its “Evolution of Social, Political, and Economic Order, Past, Present, and Future of Pakistan” event.

The LCCI office bearers said they were not holding the (bureaucracy), government responsible alone for all the mess, as all, including the civil establishment (bureaucracy), have contributed to creating the mess in the country.

“The situation started worsening in 2016 due to political instability and inconsistent economic policies. The budget deficit also surged in 2017-18, a time for the transition of power from PML-N to PTI, and now has reached a record high level and it continues rising fast,” explained Mian Rehman Aziz Chan, the LCCI vice chairman. “I think it is the civil establishment, not the military establishment, that didn’t devise long-term policies to stabilise the economy,” he added.

Says bureaucracy also ‘created mess in the country’

The LCCI office bearers said at present, the economic situation in the country is the worst ever in the history of Pakistan, as everything, especially the issues related to business community—such as Letters of Credits-LCs opening, non-clearance of around 3,500 containers at ports, non-import of raw materials, spare parts etc.

They also deplored the imposition and receipt of fuel price adjustments with effect from June. “Let us know where we go. You (the government) can receive FPA with effect from the current month but not from June—the time when we have manufactured and sold our goods already,” he said, adding that the FPA issue is leading towards the closure of steel mills in Lahore.

Earlier, talking about the event, the LCCI office bearers said the purpose of this initiative is to prepare an economic plan to the government for improvement in economic affairs in the days to come.

“Pakistan is a resourceful country and has all the essentials for economic development, but the need is to determine the right directions. The purpose of holding this conference is to bring all stakeholders on one page and give doable solutions to the government to resolve the economic problems,” said Mr Kabir.

Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue, Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, Nestle Pakistan Chairman Syed Yawar Ali, former Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Punjab Bank CEO Zafar Masud, former federal minister for agriculture Syed Fakhar Imam, former FBR chairman Muhammad Shabbar Zaidi, and others are expected to attend the event.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2022

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