Says profit margins of middlemen must be reduced
Prices in the country are erratic and inflation continues to remain high, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Wednesday.
The policy-makers have started focusing on why is there such a big difference between the prices offered by the farmers and retailers. “I saw a TV report that showed that farmers in Jacobabad are selling onions for Rs3 but the vegetable is sold for Rs35 in the market.* The difference is horrendous. We need to focus on questions such as: Why is there such a big margin for the middleman? How can it be reduced?” The middleman is making a profit of about 50% to 60%. This is far too much. “Price stability is our key focus and we want to bring relief to the common man,” he remarked.
He shared thatthe government will work on price stability, social protection, fiscalsustainability, increasing revenue, increasing our exports.
“This team believes that the FBR has done a good job so far but there is harassment. People don’t want to come into the tax net because of harassment. We will implement policies to ensure that people don’t face any more such problems.”
At least 62% to 63% percent people live in rural areas and we need to focus on them. “What have we done for them? Our performance has been flat which means that we haven’t spent any money in the agricultural sector.” He remarked that the government needs to treat this as a major industry for the country.
Speaking about industries and exports, he remarked that Pakistan’s industries and exports are not competitive. Our industries are family businesses. Just look at sports goods and light engineering, you will see that the father is the chairman and his son the managing director. The industry is fragmented and we need to consolidate it. “We have to bring foreign direct investment into our exports. There is no FDI in our export industry.”
He remarked that Covid-19 poses threat to the country’s economy, adding that Pakistan was moving towards growth but because of the third wave of the virus the growth rate fell by 95% to 56%.
Speaking about the IMF loan, he explained that the environment was not the same as in 2008. “Back then, the world was supporting us because of the Fight Against Terrorism. But now some countries made it more difficult for us because of which we faced many restrictions.”
“Despite those challenges, the government moved towards the stability of the current accounts and then focused on growth.” The government even announced a Rs1.2 trillion relief package and it made the situation stable.
“Our recovery has started and we now want to move towards growth,” he remarked. “In the 70s, we used to plan our policies and our economy was among top four Asian countries.”