Fri, 09 Jun 2023

Karachi [Pakistan], August 6 (ANI): Owing to rising inflation, high energy prices and the depreciating Pakistani currency, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Saturday warned that economic hardships would continue till September.

"We will face difficulties till September. You will have to pay your share of tax no matter what [...] and I apologise for the difficulties everyone is facing, but my primary objective is to save the country from default," Miftah said.

In a press conference after meeting the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the finance minister said that the coalition government had taken tough decisions -- cutting subsidies and broadening the tax base -- after coming into power -- and apologised to the businessmen for it, reported Geo News.

The finance minister said the government had to take tough decisions of withdrawing subsidies on petroleum products and power.

The finance minister also confirmed that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was investing in the country's stock exchange -- in its bid to expand bilateral economic ties, reported Geo News.

Earlier, the UAE expressed its intention to invest USD 1 billion in Pakistani companies in various economic and investment sectors.

The state-owned Emirati news agency reported that the move aims to explore new investment opportunities and areas for cooperation in projects across various sectors, so as to expand bilateral economic relations in the best interest of the two countries.

"...when I asked a [Gulf] state's officials to give us loans, they told me that we haven't repaid their earlier loans. I feel ashamed. It isn't a good feeling that you still have to ask for loans," he said.

Moving on to the ban on the import of luxury items, the finance minister said it would continue till next month as it was in the best interest of Pakistan's economy, reported Geo News.

However, the government last week lifted the ban on the import of non-essential and luxury products imposed earlier in May. But the restrictions on the import of completely built-up automobiles, mobile phones, and home appliances did not end.

Moreover, the foreign exchange reserves continued to deplete and fell to USD 8,385.4 million as of July 29.

The move, however, helped shrink Pakistan's exports near a quarter over the previous month and 5.2 per cent over the corresponding month of the last fiscal year.

Moreover, due to the unavailability of raw materials amid the import ban, Pakistan's two leading car assemblers, Toyota and Suzuki, have started observing partial shutdowns of their plants, reported Geo News. (ANI)

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