Published Date: Oct 20, 2017
KP politicians, businessmen stress formulation of joint charter of economy
PESHAWAR: Participants of a meeting held by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province must frame a joint charter of economy while suggesting to the federal government to frame specialised policies for the promotion of manufacturing, trade and investment, which have suffered in the context of insecurity and instability prevalent in the region for the past decade or so.
During the meeting, participating legislators and politicians highlighted solutions to the issues and challenges being faced by the country’s economy.
On the occasion, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Noman Wazir said that the federal government’s claims of an economic turnaround were misleading. He urged the government to set its growth targets closer to 11 per cent, as the growth rate of 4.7 per cent recorded in the previous fiscal year was insufficient to cater to the needs of a growing population.
He explained that the exporting sectors of the economy had been badly hit by the rising cost of utilities and poorly thought-out investment policies. He also expressed concern that the country would be unable to service its foreign debts in the context of prevalent macroeconomic frailties.
He also highlighted the role that think tanks could play in supporting politicians and the business community to frame a joint charter of economy.
Addressing the participants, Awami National Party (ANP) Central Vice President Bushra Gohar said that economic issues needed to be discussed more frequently and in greater depth at the political level.
She urged all relevant stakeholders to take greater notice of the prevalent internal and regional security environment within their economic analysis, especially in the context of KP, whose economy had suffered greatly due to instability and worsening relations with Afghanistan.
While discussing Pakistan’s overall economic performance, she expressed concern over policymakers’ preference for short-term fixes to long-standing structural issues, such as low tax-to-GDP ratio, low-levels of investment and regional trade, and persistent trade and fiscal deficits.
She also stressed the need for bringing development issues at par with debt reservicing and defence in the budget-making process.
KP Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KPCCI) President Zahidullah Shinwari called for preferential trade and investment policies to level the playing field with more prosperous provinces. He also called for lowering of corporate tax rates to discourage tax avoidance and effective implementation of the Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act 2005 to keep the country’s rising foreign debt in check.
Other speakers at the event included Pakistan Business Council Resident Director Saud Bangash Mazharul Haq of the Chamber of Small Exporters and Businesses, and Bannu Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Abdur Rauf Shah.