Businessmen show concern over increasing debt burden

Islamabad, June 06, 2012 (PPI-OT): Businessmen in a meeting at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) showed serious concern over country’s sliding into a serious debt trap as Pakistan’s foreign debt and liabilities have surged to $66.6 billion.

Yassar Sakhi Butt, President ICCI said that already under IMF influence, government has enhanced the prices of electricity, gas and petroleum products significantly hiking cost of doing business and making our exports more uncompetitive in international markets.

He said that the massive rise in foreign debt would badly affect the macro and micro policies of the country and called upon the government to start devising indigenous strategies to prevent the country from falling into an unmanageable debt trap.

ICCI President said the government should take this matter seriously as the rising debt burden would adversely impact on governments efforts to develop economic and social infrastructure and maintain macroeconomic stability.

He said that if this dangerous trend is not checked, it would retard the economic growth of the country, giving further rise to unemployment and poverty. He said the foreign direct investment has already declined in Pakistan by 63 percent during the first ten months of current fiscal year 2011-12 and huge rise in foreign debt would discourage further private investment in the country.

Yassar Sakhi Butt said that a far-sighted use of foreign debt could play an instrumental role in achieving accelerated development of a country, but unfortunately Government did not use it aptly and optimally. As a result, the country has accumulated significant amounts of debt with not many benefits in terms of economic growth and living standards for the poor.

He said that increasing levels of domestic and external debts could not be good for the country and for the welfare of its future generations unless these costly inflows are surpassed by visible benefits.

ICCI President that said government should devise a safe exit strategy out of this menacing debt trap by increasing indigenous resources, for which there exist huge reservoirs in the shape of human capital, unexploited mineral deposits, hydel power potential, and huge agricultural and industrial potentials.

For more information, contact:
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Chamber House, Aiwan-e-Sanat-o-Tijarat Road,
Mauve Area, G-8/1,
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +9251 225 0526 and 225 3145
Fax: +9251 225 2950

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