Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh has said that unemployment is likely to go down in the coming days, owing to the steps taken by the government towards economic recovery.
He repeated the arguments that the PTI government faced challenges of high current account deficit, and the artificially high exchange rate when it came to power. He said that these factors caused de-industrialization, hampered exports, and promoted an import-based economy.
In a meeting with the business community at Governor House, Sheikh reiterated that the government is focusing on enhancing exports. He informed that duties on numerous raw materials had been reduced and energy subsidies had been provided to the export sector to improve exports.
He said that the government is committed to solving the problem of refunds on a permanent basis and a lot of improvements had been made in this regard. Through the new refund system, called Faster Plus, the private sector would be able to track the progress on the refunds.
The adviser said that the government allowed the import of wheat to avoid food shortage and that a comprehensive package was given to utility stores for essential food items. He added that the SME policy is being formulated by the Ministry of Industries. Income Tax Refunds up to Rs. 50 million are being paid.
The business community meeting the adviser demanded that the refunds of small businesses should be released on an urgent basis. They insisted that the trust deficit between the government and private sector needs to be finished. They also raised concerns that new gas connections were being provided on the high rates of imported RLNG while the old consumers were being charged the old rate. On the model of electricity tariff, there should be weighted average rates for gas consumers, they demanded. Enhancing exports is imperative to get the economy out of the current economic crisis.