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PESHAWAR: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Ghazanfar Bilour on Sunday expressed annoyance over the US opposition to the IMF bailout for Pakistan.

In a statement here on Sunday, the FPCCI chief said that the efforts of the US to push Pakistan into anarchy damaged its reputation and it would also hit credibility of IMF if it failed to take an urgent and merit-based decision.

“The way the US is rewarding its ally and a frontline state in the war against terrorism that has paid a heavy price for siding with America is not going down well with the people and business community. We are still paying the price for the US ambitions as three leaders and many people lose lives during the recent election campaign,” said Mr Bilour.

FPCCI chief says country has paid heavy price for supporting American war

He said that the new government was to inherit a critical economic situation and it would have to seek the bailout from the IMF that would be largest in the history of the country.

“The budget deficit has grown constantly pushing the country to the verge of a balance-of-payments crisis, threatening political and economic stability, the value of rupee, ability to repay debts or pay for imports while the US is using the opportunity to squeeze Pakistan. It is uncalled for,” said the FPCCI chief.

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 said.

He said that the tense relationship between Islamabad and Washington should not result in actions that could not be justified under any circumstances.

Mr Bilour said that China announced $2 billion loan for Pakistan, the Islamic Development Bank activated $4.5 billion facility for oil imports and a global bank decided to give $200 million to help finance LNG imports but those were short-term solutions.

“The new government should improve economy and attract foreign investment to push up the country from the 147th number on the World Bank’s business climate index. The new government is likely to consider privatisation of all state-owned companies, including PIA, but the process should not be undertaken hastily,” he said.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2018