Economic Advisory Council formed without Trade & Industry Irfan Iqbal Sheikh

Karachi (PR): Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President FPCCI, has expressed his shock over the formation of Economic Advisory Council under the leadership of Prime Minister Mian Shehbaz Sharif without consulting the business, industry and trade community of Pakistan. We have also not given a representation in the council; and, it is counterproductive – to say the least, he added.

Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh maintained that FPCCI is the apex chamber of the country and its representation would provide the able and timely assistance to the Prime Minister and his economic team in the matters of budget-making; taxation & tariffs; governance & administrative reforms; rapid industrialization; textiles & allied industries; promotion of information & communication technologies; EPZs & SEZs; export growth & import substitution; rupee-dollar parity and SMEs.

FPCCI President noted with concern that current account deficit (CAD) will be close to $20 billion, which is well above 5 percent of GDP; inflation has crossed 12 percent and heading towards 15 percent by the year end; trade deficit has crossed $35 billion in the nine months of July – March; KIBOR is 14.10 percent after 13 years and 6-month treasury bills at 14.99 percent after 22 years. Interestingly, this is happening in spite of record proceeds from exports, remittances and taxes, he added.

While proposing the imposition of an economic emergency a few days back, FPCCI President has also expressed his willingness to engage with the government in a productive consultative process to take on the economic challenges collectively in the broader national interest.

However, Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh has reiterated his stance that policies should not be announced in a vacuum without consulting the business, industry and trade community – as they are the real stakeholders in the economy.

Brig Iftikhar Opel, SI (M), Retd.

Secretary General