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SAARC Chambers demand balanced budget

Islamabad: Vice President SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Iftikhar Ali Malik on Saturday said government should introduce a budget that can trigger economic activity in the country.
There is a break in growth since few years while the economy continues to nosedive with which is a matter of great concern for the business community, he said.
Speaking to business community at FPCCI Capital Office, Iftikhar Ali Malik said that foreign funds and investments have dried up which call for focused efforts to mobilise domestic resources.
Secretary General SAARC CCI Iqbal Tabish, Chairman Media Malik Sohail and others were also present on the occasion.
Malik proposed a powerful economic revival council comprising former finance ministers, governors of SBP, chairmen FBR, judges, business leaders, and technocrats which can guide government on economic matters.
Politicians have failed to deliver therefore experts should be allowed to steer country away from the economic mess, he said adding that Indonesian model can be followed after slight changes.
The veteran business leader said that high interest rates and inflation are the natural outcome of this heavy borrowing which must be curtailed.
Banks are ignoring productive sectors to finance government expenditure which continues to compromise developmental expenditure for non-developmental spending, he observed.
Iftikhar Ali Malik said that tendency of printing money is killing all efforts to stimulate growth while critical infrastructure continues to deteriorate. Inability of government to address energy crisis is playing havoc with all sectors, especially industries and exporters, he observed.
He said that energy crisis is result of mismanagement as defaulters continue to enjoy electric supply.
Priority should be given to education, health, and water supply, unproductive expenditure should be reduced and printing currency should be stopped to guarantee gradual improvement, he said.
He said that business community is looking forward for a balanced budget which can turn around economic situation.
At the occasion, Malik Sohail said that authorities should ensure that overall deficit does not exceed 5 per cent of the GDP.
The PSDP should be two per cent of the GDP which should not be axed due to political considerations. Government should aim to redistribute the benefits towards poor and all general subsidies should be immediately replaced with targeted subsidies, said Sohail.

Budget proposals should not be a useless ritual; they said adding that Pakistan cannot afford to waste more time.
Malik Sohail said that influential sectors should be taxed in the budget while small traders should be spared.

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