Lahore – The Secretary General (SG) of the Businessmen Panel (BMP) Ahmad Jawad said that multitasking economic steps are needed to save China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) from international forces hatching conspiracies against the multi-billion project.
In a statement issued here on Sunday, Ahmad Jawad said that the IMF package would put the CPEC at stake because the IMF does not approve of the project in view of the poor health of the economy. He said economic managers were at their wit’s end on how to bridge the yawning resource gap in the external account and avoid going into default on repayment of the country’s debts.
He said Pakistan needed $15-16 billion worth of support but the bilateral credit from a consortium of donors would raise more than half – $9 billion. “We will be left with a shortfall of around $7-8 billion to bridge either through grants and assistance from friendly countries or from the IMF,” he said, adding that the country’s economy was, of course, passing through a difficult period.
The SG BMP said that it will more appropriate that Pakistan should seek financial assistance from China, Russia and Saudi Arabia to get out of the grave financial crisis it faces to bridge the country’s external account deficit ahead of budgetary proposals for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
He mentioned that New Zealand and Kazakhstan are among other Asia Pacific countries with smaller economies but more reserves than Pakistan”. Jawad said the several key state-owned institutions like Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Railways, Pakistan Steel Mills, ZTBL, Utility Stores, Wapda (QESCO, HESCO, SEPCO etc) and other institutions are a major drag on Pakistan’s economy.
“These loss-making entities are presently bleeding to the tune of Rs400 billion per annum. Therefore, reforming these state owned institutions through a combination of privatisation and restructuring is fundamental,” the PML-N Manifesto 2013 put on record a base to start with.
The SG BMP said that despite having the resurgence of loss-making public-sector enterprises a key aspect of its 2013 PMLN manifesto, the performance of the party in power has remained dismal.
The PML-N promised to initiate action to turn around the loss making state enterprises by appointing independent and professional boards who in turn appoint competent CEOs of state enterprises, he added. Jawad said that the gap between what was said and what was done has pushed the country into a deep debt trap, increased income inequality, and an increasing number of question marks hovering over the economic outlook
“Professional competence and merit will be the only criteria for appointment of boards and CEOs. The immediate task of the boards and CEOs will be to manage these corporations effectively and to plug the losses, “In this regard a unique example of appointing a Chief Executive in TDAP, where the then Premier set aside the appointment criteria and even superannuation age and appoint 70 years old and dual national person in the authority” That’s why country exports, which stood at $24.5 billion in June 2013, have decreased to $20.42 billion as of June 2017.