ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Wednesday blamed the past governments of PPP and PMLN for the inflation, saying what would be left with the government for subsidy, as it had to pay back 12 billion dollars alone this year besides imports.
Speaking at a function here, the minister said Rs6 trillion was borrowed from 1947 to 2008, whereas loans amounting to Rs23,000 billion were taken from 2008 to 2018. From the loans taken from 1947 to 2008, the Islamabad city was built, Gwadar bought, the armed forces strengthened and motorways built while Pakistan became a nuclear power as well, the minister said. “But in the next 10 years, we borrowed Rs23,000 billion, which went to Dubai, London and the United States unfortunately. Hence the main reason for inflation in the country is the loans taken by the previous governments to build properties abroad,” he asserted.
The minister pointed out, “Germany buys surgical instruments from Pakistan for about $300 million to $400 million and sells them to India for 700 million, which means we have a lot of opportunities to add value to our exports”.
He noted that Pakistan has a unique status, about 66pc of the world’s population is three and a half hours away from Islamabad: “The food basket of Saudi Arabia, Central Asia, Bahrain and Dubai will always be based on imports due to its environment; Pakistan can gain access to the food market of Arab countries by innovating its farming and livestock.”
Fawad emphasised: “We have set up a halal authority, certified it, we make things but we do not pay attention to its certification”.
While addressing all the CEOs present at the event, the minister said the quality of everything they produce should be in line with the world standards. He said the prices of commodities in the global market have gone up while the oil prices have also gone up. When the PTI government came to power in 2018, the price of palm oil was $518 metric ton which has now crossed $1,200, adding likewise, prices of oil and wheat also went up.
The minister contented that the COVID caused inflation all over the world. “If we have surplus dollars, we can buy expensive things from the outside world and subsidise them, but we don’t have dollars, mainly because we haven’t made anything of our own in the last 20 years rather imported from outside world,” he added.
He said Dubai is a small city with a population of three to four million, the examples of its economy cannot match that of the 220 million people. He added that the industry was shut down in Pakistan, everything was imported. “We needed a sanitiser during the Covid, we have ethanol, we send the raw material abroad but we don’t make our own sanitiser. When we came to power in 2018, our textile industry was shut down, we revived it. Investment in technology is essential for development,” he added. The minister said the main reason for non-availability of electric vehicles at present is the absence of chips as the US companies are not supplying chips to China. The entire industry has come to a standstill, he added.