Pakistanis welcome budget initiatives

ABU DHABI - Pakistani expatriate corporate executives living in the capital have appreciated the macro economic stability and the new initiatives for creating one million jobs besides Pakistan's commitment for the ongoing privatisation programme.

By Haseeb Haider

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Published: Mon 14 Jun 2004, 9:41 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:06 PM

Khaleej Times talked to senior corporate executives in the capital to learn their views on their country's budget announced yesterday.

Dr. Abdul Azim Abkar, a senior corporate executive said that government has managed to improve the macro economic indicators which were quite encouraging. Improvements on exports figures and reduction in imports has improved the trade gap benefiting the economy. He said that the inflation was at a reasonable level of 3.6 per cent, which suggests the strengths of previous years fiscal policy.

The construction industry had been neglected in the past and the policy statement on the housing sector would benefit at least 19 industrial sectors, mostly the small and medium industries, which will give new lease of life to these almost sick industries giving jobs to tens of thousands families," he said. He added that "banks have huge capital available on low rate of interest to finance new avenues and the housing sector alone can consume a big chunk of surplus liquidity in the banking system," he said.

Dr. Akbar appreciated government focus on the infrastructure sector which was the key area to attract foreign investment. For the improving the foreign direct investment (FDI) government has taken measures to introduce one-window operations facilitating the overseas investors, who would get all necessary permissions for establishing an industrial unit without running between pillar to post.

He welcomed some reduction in taxes which would ease out the corporate sector and improve its earnings.

Khalid Nizami, another executive said that finance minister Shaukat Aziz has been able to control the inflation to 3.6 per cent, which had been a source of worry. The falling interest rates has also benefited the economy reducing cost of borrowing for the industry enabling it to survive and better its earnings. This fact is also reflected in the zooming share market index which has broke all previous records, Nizami said.

He appreciated the finance minister for allocating special quota for the overseas Pakistanis in the industrial cities, hoping it would benefit hundreds who are planning to start new life backhome.

Nizami said that cost of doing business has been very high, and government has reduced or withdrawn several levies which would benefit the investor community.

Omar Yousaf, a financial expert expressed his concerns over the alarming incidence of poverty which has touched the figure of 30 per cent. Yousaf said that budgetary policies should target the red spot which can harm the society and create complicated socio-political problems.

Yousaf said that macro economic performance during the fiscal has been quite encouraging, but country need to take bold initiatives to remove shackles of external and internal debts, which was still eating away with national resources.

He lauded the telecom policy of the government which has recently attracted a significant amount of foreign investment saying the future was bright for the country in the sector which offers multi-billion US dollar investments.

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