Imports from Pakistan fall sharply in July, helping the rupiah stabilize (FM)

Miftah Ismail during a press conference in Islamabad on Sunday. International News Network

Pakistani imports fell by more than a third in July after the ban on non-essential goods, the finance minister said on Sunday, adding that the improving trade situation will reduce pressure on the struggling rupee.

July imports fell to $5 billion, down 35% from the monthly record of $7.7 billion recorded in June, Miftah Ismail told a news conference in Islamabad.

Pakistan’s central bank and bureau of statistics have yet to release their July data.

“It’s very welcoming,” Ismail said, adding that it was the result of his government’s ban on all non-essential imports. “It will take the pressure off the rupee,” he said.

The rupee traded slightly at 239.37 to the dollar on Friday, after losing about 5% last week and more than a quarter of its value this year.

The ban on imports of non-essential goods was lifted last week, except for automobiles, mobile phones and household appliances.

Ismail said his government had decided to drastically reduce the current account deficit and post a surplus in a year or two.

The South Asian nation has rapidly depleting foreign exchange reserves and is struggling to finance a growing current account deficit, which saw a $2.3 billion increase in June, mainly due to the increase oil imports.

The deficit for the year ended June 30 was $17.4 billion from $2.8 billion a year earlier.

Earlier in July, Pakistan reached a staff-level agreement with the IMF for the disbursement of $1.17 billion as part of a resumption of bailout payment.

The Minister of Finance said that everyone should pay taxes to save this country. “I imposed taxes on my own factories and on the prime minister’s children as well,” he added. He announced tax relief on the electricity bills of merchants who consume less than 150 units. He said small retailers earning Rs 1.2 million a year would have to pay Rs 36,000 tax a year.

Ismail said his priority was not to control inflation, but rather to save the country from default. He said he had given funds to utility shops so that they could sell flour at Rs 40/kg; sugar at Rs70/kg and ghee at Rs300/L. “There is no doubt that inflation has increased in the country. But I can’t help it. First we have to save the country. Soon, the pressure on the rupee will ease and with that, commodity prices will go down,” he expressed his optimism.

The Minister of Finance informed that this year we have plenty of wheat. He said that from next month the government would try to increase its exports.

Economy Charter: The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CICI) on Sunday called on all political parties to take the current economic situation very seriously and come forward to find an amicable solution to the ongoing crises.

In a first of its steps in the country, the business community of the federal capital decided to take the initiative to put pressure on the political leaders of the country so that they draw up a “charter of the economy”, so that there is consistency in economic policies, regardless of politics. change.

The former presidents and senior leaders of the CICI held a press conference here at the National Press Club and announced that the CICI will hold an “all-party conference for the recovery of the economy on August 6th.

Addressing the Muhammad Shakeel Munir press conference, President ICCI said the dire economic situation facing the country was nothing short of a threat to the stability of the nation.

“The current economic collapse is clear to all of you, everyone is worried that the whole nation is under pressure,” Mr. Munir said, adding, “But the most serious problem is that multilateral donors as well as Friendly countries were reluctant to help Pakistan and this was a clear sign that a massive storm for the economy was coming.

Emphasizing that apart from the overall economic situation facing Pakistan, which includes energy shortage, high inflation and heavy debts, many things were not visible to the general public and their chain reaction can have serious implications for retail, which will ultimately hurt consumers.

President ICCI said restrictions imposed by the State Bank of Pakistan on letters of credit (LC) and sharp decline in foreign exchange reserves may lead to a situation where goods and items will be scarce in the markets . “Such a situation will lead to public outcry and a law and order situation mainly in urban areas where the economy is totally based on consumerism,” he said.

He announced that following the realities on the ground, the Islamabad Chamber has decided to reach out to all concerned decision makers and seek a solution to the economic crisis. “We are organizing an all-party conference in this regard on Saturday, August 6 to highlight these issues with decision-makers,” while Khalid Iqbal Malik, former president of the CICI and chairman of the group, said the conference is a apolitical event and that it was to bring all those who matter on the same page, because the current situation may pose threats to the stability of the country.

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