Flawed economic model resulting in repeated crisis: PEW

Exports through subsidies and packages a wrong approach
Export boom is always followed by inflation, currency depreciation
Interest rate hike termed insufficient to contain slide of rupee

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Tuesday said Pakistan’s economic model is flawed and full of contradictions but the policymakers prefer shortcuts over sustainable development.

The policy to boost exports through subsidies is wrong as boosting exports require consistent policies, improved industrial investment and a focus on new technologies, it said.

Whenever the government has tried to boost exports artificially, it has resulted in trade deficit, inflation, exchange rate erosion, increased value of dollar, and mini-budget, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

He said that sometimes mini-budgets fail to deliver, leading the government to seek loans from the IMF and other sources.
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SBP intervention to stabilise the rupee remained futile: PEW

Policy rate hike, ban on luxury imports demanded
Afghan asett freeze triggered outflow of dollars

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Saturday said the efforts of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to stabilize the local currency has left much to be desired.

The central bank has pumped $1.23 billion dollars in the market to stabilize the rupee but to no avail, as the local currency has depreciated by Rs12 in the current fiscal, it said.

Government should immediately ban the import of luxury items while State Bank should hike policy rate to reduce demand to stabilize the rupee and reduce the speed of hike in the prices of essential items, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.
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Action demanded against officials delaying import of wheat, sugar

Mismanagement in TCP threatening food security in Pakistan
Increasing wheat demand in Afghanistan require immediate imports

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Tuesday demanded strict action against elements involved in delaying the import of wheat and sugar.

Unnecessary delay in import of wheat and sugar has not only increased prices in the local market but will also inflict heavy losses on the national exchequer, it said.

Change in Afghanistan has also increased demand for wheat which will have an impact on prices in Pakistan therefore wheat should be imported without delay, said Chairman PRW Brigadier (retd) Muhammad Aslam Khan.
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Investments should be diverted towards industry: Murtaza Mughal

Tarin’s steps a breath of fresh air: Mian Zahid Hussain

Chairman of the National Business Group (NBG) of FPCCI Mian Zahid Hussain on Sunday said steps of the Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin is bringing refreshing change in the economic situation of the country.

The pro-growth policies of the finance minister, decision to invest heavily in the agriculture sector and plan to expand tax net while shielding masses from more burden are very positive moves, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said this while speaking at an Iftar dinner arranged by Deputy Convenor of Central Standing Committee on Insurance (NBG) Qazi Asif Saeed in honour of Dr. Murtaza Mughal, Group County Manager of United International Group.
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Mari Petroleum Ramadan charity initiative lauded

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) onThursday lauded the initiatives of Mari Petroleum Company Limited (MPCL)to provide food to the needy during the holy month of Ramadan.

The company has started a number of charity initiatives for the deserving members of the society executed throughout the year but the holy month of Ramadan is considered the most important for the purpose.

In this connection, MPCL held an Iftar dinner at Jaffar Chowk, Meharabadi, Islamabad for five hundred people which was attended by Dr. Murtaza Mughal, Pakistan Economy Watch, as Chief Guest and Brig. (retd)Aslam Khan, Chairman Pakistan Economy Watch.
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Uniform power tariff termed mother of all ills

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Identical power tariff an insult to honest consumers
Power tariff should be linked to recovery: Mian Zahid Hussain

The Pakistan Economy Watch on Wednesday said uniform power tariff regime is the mother of all ills in the power sector and an insult to honest consumers.

Power tariff should be different for different jurisdictions and it should be linked to the recoveries as poorly managed and efficient Discos cannot be treated as one, it said.

The areas, where recovery is better, should be spared from frequent price hike and load shedding while the regions where recovery is low should be penalised, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that how come government deal with residents of Islamabad with the highest recovery rate the way it handles consumers of Quetta, Peshawar or Sukkur where the recovery is at its lowest.

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Industrial sector sinking under the tax burden

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Balanced taxation regime must for national development
Industry holds 17 pc share in GDP but paying up to 73 pc taxes

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Tuesday said the industrial sector is going down due to heavy tax burden which is blocking national development, revenue and employment.

Government continues to announce packages for the industry but avoid balancing the tax regime which is tilted towards non-productive sectors, it said.

The share of the industrial sector in GDP is 17 percent but it is made to pay taxes up to 73 percent while the combined share of trade and transport in the GDP is also 17 percent but it is paying only 1.2 percent tax, said Dr Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

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Govt gas decisions amid LNG crisis supported

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The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Wednesday supported the decisions of the government to tackle gas shortages amid a global LNG crisis.

Record hike in the price of super-chilled fuel due to biting winter and other issues has prompted many global suppliers to default on their commitments and Pakistan is no exception, it said.

Following the refusal of two suppliers to provide LNG to Pakistan for February the government has sought urgent tenders for gas deliveries to fill the gap.

The government has suspended gas supply to inefficient captive power plants to cope with the gas shortages which is a right decision, said Dr Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

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Business community pinning high hopes on Magoo

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The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Tuesday said the business community is bunning high hopes on newly-elected President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Naser Hayat Maggo.

After years FPCCI got a president who has a vast experience and will to resolve the issues confronting traders and industrialists, it said.

He seems not to be very much interested in becoming a yesman of the government and will not waste all the time on useless meetings and photo sessions, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.
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2020 was a great disappointment for masses

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Mafia transferred trillions from pockets of poor to their accounts
Inflation broke all records, trillions wasted due to incompetence

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Friday said the 2020 was stained with inflation, unemployment, and political as well as economic instability marred the year 2020.

The year was beneficial for influential mafia, profiteers, hoarders and politicians while it saw unprecedented inflation, unemployment, instability, lawlessness and tall claims, it said.

The wheat, sugar, poultry, pharma and other mafias transferred trillions from the pockets of the poor to their accounts while the tariff of electricity, gas, price of petrol and food further damaged the masses, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

He said that masses were burdened with heavy taxes during the outgoing year while the practice of rewarding nobility through tax breaks worth hundreds of billions continued.

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Insurance industry failed to deliver amid pandemic: Dr Murtaza Mughal

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Economic stability requires better insurance penetration: Abdul Haye
Compulsory third party motor, group medical insurance needed in Pakistan: IAP

Former Convenor FPCCI Central Committee on Insurance Dr Murtaza Mughal on Saturday said the insurance industry has failed to deliver amid pandemic calling for new products and reforms in this sector so that it can deliver in challenging environment.

Talking to Senior Vice Chairman Insurance Association of Pakistan (IAP) and CEO Alfalah Insurance Abdul Haye and other industry experts, Dr Murtaza Mughal said that claims are being avoided because the policies were not designed to pay out when there is a pandemic; and if paid, it will push service providers to insolvency.

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Insurance important tool for economic development: PEW

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Share of insurance in GDP very low
Pakistan virus-related losses Rs2.5 trillion

Director General Federal Insurance Ombudsman Mubashir Naeem Siddiqui has said that the insurance sector plays a very important part in the national development however the pandemic has increased its importance manifold.

Despite the importance of insurance its share in the GDP is low which can be increased through efforts in the right direction, he said.

Talking to Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President of Pakistan Economy Watch and former Chairman FPCCI Central Insurance Committee on Insurance, Mubashir Naeem Siddiqui said that the Insurance Ombudsman is providing valuable services to the society and protecting the rights of policyholders which will help improve this sector.

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FPCCI going through crisis of leadership, vision

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Islamabad :The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Tuesday said FPCCI is going through a crisis of leadership and vision since long which has disappointed the voters.

Many businessmen are not very keen to participate in the upcoming elections while others are undecided to vote for United Business Group (UBG) or Businessmen Panel (BMP) as both have failed to come up to their expectations, said Chairman Pakistan Economy Watch Brig. (retd) Aslam Khan.

He said that UBG ruled FPCCI for five years but failed to bring any meaningful change. BMP realised their failure and came to power by promising a change but their slogan never translated into reality.

Both the groups have failed to improve working and image of the FPCCI and both have bulldozed merit during their tenures resulting in a disaster, he added.
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Land reforms needed to lift agriculture sector: PEW

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ISLAMABAD, The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Saturday said the agriculture sector cannot progress in absence of meaningful land reforms delayed since decades.

Land reforms were initiated in the 70s after which this critical has been ignored by all the governments which has inflicted heavy damage on the agriculture sector and and resulted in food security issues.

The fall of agriculture has not only squeezed the income of farmers but also eroded the buying power of masses while the gulf between landed elites and farmers is expanding, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.
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Former govts damaged energy sector beyond repair: President PEW

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Says power agreements crippled industry, agriculture and masses, demands forensic audit of IPPs, entire power system

ISLAMABAD: President Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) Dr. Murtaza Mughal has said that former governments inflicted irreversible harm to the power sector by signing highly controversial power purchase agreements with the private sector that crippled masses, industry and agriculture.

In a statement on Sunday, he said the deals not only resulted in unbelievable profits for the private power sector but also increased tariff by 25 to 30 percent as compared to regional countries badly hitting the economy.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said the former governments violated PPRA rules, third party audit system and established power plants hundreds of miles away from the source resulting in phenomenal losses.

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PM’s move to restructure SOEs lauded: PEW

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ISLAMABAD – The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Monday lauded to move of the Prime Minister Imran Khan to restructure state-run companies which are inflicting losses to the tune of trillions.

In case of success, the government will save hundreds of billions of rupees being spent to keep these institutions artificially alive, it said.

Pakistan cannot progress unless it strikes a balance between income and expenditures for which tackling failed companies is necessary, said Chairman Pakistan Economy Watch Brig. (retd) Aslam Khan.

He said that loss-making entities are getting more funds than being spent on defence of the country while all the money is going down the drain which cannot be justified.

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India digging its grave by opposing CPEC: PEW

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Conspiracies by Modi administration cannot dent Pak-China ties

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Friday said India is digging its grave by opposing the multi-billion dollar project CPEC which is a reality.

Conflicting this project amounts to committing suicide, therefore, India should become part of it or become unconcerned towards it, it said.

The conspiracies by Modi administration cannot dent Pak-China friendship and increased economic cooperation, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

Damaging a sixty billion dollar project by allocating sixty million dollars for terrorist activities is a dream which will never come true, he added.

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Pakistan cannot afford annual subsidies of Rs4 trillion

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Cotton crop failure to cost $10 billion: PEW

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Replacing cotton crop with sugarcane be discouraged
Buying costly gas to hit the industrial sector

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Saturday said the failure of the cotton crop will cost ten billion dollars to the country.

The cotton production stands at five million bales against the target of fifteen million bales which will require import of ten million bales, it said.

Cotton import is necessary to keep the textile sector running, therefore, all the taxes and duties should be waived, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

He said that the government should resolve the issues confronting the cotton sector and discourage trend among farmers to switch to sugarcane crop.

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Artificial food crisis transferring trillions from poor to rich Foreign farmers should not be benefitted at the cost of local planters

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The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Saturday said trillions have been transferred from the pockets of poor to the coffers of rich with the help of artificial food crisis.

The crisis is being prolonged intentionally so that the mafia can extract maximum from the struggling masses as the authorities seems fully satisfied by relying on issuing hollow statements, he said.

Inaction on the part of the federal and provincial governments have triggered fears and doubts among the large section of masses, while it is pleasing the profiteers, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

He said that the decision to import wheat and sugar is not being implemented the way it should have been which is helping hoarders to fleece masses since last year.

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Afiridi reminds UN to break mysterious silence, resolve disputes

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Dr Murtaza Mughal resigns from FPCCI

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Resignation of Mian Zahid termed unfortunate

Convener FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Insurance said Dr. Murtaza Mughal has resigned from his post.

He has tendered his resignation to express solidarity with the leaders of Businessmen Panel (BMP) of FPCCI who have left protesting the policies of group chairman and president of FPCCI.

It may be recalled that yesterday the Senior Vice Chairman of BMP Mian Zahid Hussain, Vice Chairman Saqib Fayyaz Magoon, central leader Allouddin Marri and Secretary General Ahmed Jawad had resigned from their posts and basic membership of the group.

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Gross premium in Pakistan less than 0.9 percent of GDP: DrMurtaza Mughal

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Govt promoting insurance sector: Federal Insurance Ombudsman
Reconciliation proved fruitful than litigation: Dr. Muhammad Khawar Jameel

Federal Insurance Ombudsman Dr. Muhammad Khawar Jameel has said that insurance is a very import sector which provides risk coverage masses and businesses.

Despite its importance the insurance penetration in Pakistan is dismally low due to lack of awareness while less then one percent of consumers take the pain to study the insurance policy which result in disputes.

Speaking at a seminar as the chief guest which was organised by Convener FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Insurance said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, he said that he is striving hard to improve the image of the sector amongst the general public and especially in the business circles.

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Shifting transport to LNG to save billions in oil import: Brig Aslam

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ISLAMABAD, October 18 (Online): Chairman of Pakistan Economy Watch Brig. (retd) Aslam Khan on Sunday lauded the move of the government to promote the use of LNG in vehicles in place of CNG.

As per the plan, conversion of CNG stations to RLNG is in progress and the CNG stations will not get natural gas in future and they will use imported LNG which will bring an end to the scarcity of gas for vehicles during the winter, he said.

He said that the move of the government will reduce the oil import bill by almost 20 percent, reduce environmental pollution and fares for the masses.

Aslam Khan said that the imported LNG will be around 20 to 25 percent cheaper than petrol which will provide relief to millions of people linked to the transport sector and commuters.

This will also help the government to utilise the idle capacity of LNG terminals which is resulting in heavy losses. This will bring down the terminal charges on a unit basis while the private sector will start building new terminals by investing billions.

A sizable volume of local gas will be saved through this initiative which could be diverted to industrial sector reducing complaints and triggering production and employment.

He noted that RLNG usage should be encouraged throughout the year and the natural gas could be used for more efficient uses in the industrial and power sectors.

Export competitiveness must be achieved: Murtaza Mughal

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Govt on the forefront of economic recovery effort: PBIT
PM triggering economic activity: Tanveer Ilyas Khan

Chairman Punjab Board of Investment & Trade (PBIT) Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan has said that government is seriously persuing economic revival through enabling policies.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is triggering economic activity through different long-term and near-term initiatives while he has actively engaged the private sector for improved input of their problems, he said.

Chairman PBIT Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan said that economy has started showing signs of improvement despite challenges while the private sector is now more hopeful about an early turnaround.

Talking to Convener FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Insurance said Dr. Murtaza Mughal he said that coronavirus and other issues have severely damaged the economy which will not be offset by conventional tools like tweaking interest rates or calibrating tax slabs therefore the PM has started broad-based consultations with all the stakeholders.

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FBR robbing poor to help rich: Dr Murtaza Mughal

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ISLAMABAD: FBR seems to be more interested in collecting refunds than taxes which is damaging the fragile economy while it is robbing poor to help the righ, an FPCCI official said Sunday.

The refund system should be automated and its responsibility should rest with the central bank to reduce complaints and corruption and improve the economic situation, said Convener FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Insurance said Dr. Murtaza Mughal.

He said that the government is trying hard to inject new blood in the economy and restore the confidence of the business community but the tax mechanism is working against it.

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Revenue fall may result in mini-budget, says FPCCI

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A mini-budget is feared following the failure of the FBR measures to increase revenue on the behest of IMF, an FPCCI official said Tuesday.

The masses are business community is worried about the future as the FBR move to raise Rs637.4 billion through Finance Act 2019.20 have backfired, said Convener FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Insurance said Dr. Murtaza Mughal.

He said that tax-to GDP ration has dropped to 9.6 percent which was between 11.4 and 12.6 percent during the past five years which is a major blow to revenue collection administration.

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Lenders demand to cut circular debt to zero senseless: PEW

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Masses cannot afford exceptional hike in power tariff
Masses should not be punished for crimes of former rulers
SBP mulling rate hike, cement mafia has created artificial shortage

Convener FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Insurance Dr Murtaza Mughal on Friday said demand of the IMF and World Bank to reduce circular debt to zero in one year should be rejected as it is contrary to the ground realities.

The demand of the lenders is not implementable as it will push the country back to the stone age, he said.

Talking to present and former President of RCCI Saboor Malik and Nasir Mirza, he said that it took decades of neglect to accumulate circular debt which can be brought down to zero in a gradual manner otherwise it will hit masses and productive sector badly.

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Important agri sector crumbling due to neglect

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Profiteers keeping millions hungry for earnings
Meetings, half-hearted steps will not revive agriculture

Convener FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Insurance Dr. Murtaza Mughal on Saturday said the most important sector of agriculture is crumbling due to continued disregard by the authorities.

Profiteers are also hurting this sector and keeping millions hungry for illegal profits while all the efforts to contain mafia has failed, he added.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that majority of the population is facing food security issues which cannot be resolved through meetings, statements and half-hearted steps.

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اسلام عورتوں کو گھرسے باہر جانے سے نہیں روکتابلکہ مردوں کو لگام ڈالتاہے، ڈاکٹر مرتضی مغل

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Karachi Mian Zahid Hussain FPCCI leader presenting shield to Dr Murtaza Mughal Convener Insurance Committee for his servics to Insurance Industry. Joint Director United Insurance Mr. Saif ud din also graced the picture.

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Country sinking in unsustainable debt: FPCCI

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Billions being borrowed without any justification
Gory crimes become a challenge for the dysfunctional system

Pakistan is mired in an unsustainable debt as billions are being borrowed without any justification, an FPCCI official said Sunday.

Horrible crimes have become the order of the day due to political interference in important departments which has unnerved masses and emerged as a challenge for the criminal justice system, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, Convener FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Insurance.

In a statement issued here on Sunday, he said that new records are being set for loans while inefficiencies have resulted in political instability.

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FPCCI hold’s international seminar on insurance

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FPCCI Standing Committee on Insurance and Lahore Insurance Institute (LII) jointly organized an international online seminar titled, “Impact of COVID 19 on Insurance Sector – Opportunities and Challenges”۔

The webinar was attended by over 100 participants from the insurance sector and the business community of the country.

Dr Murtaza Mughal, Convenor FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Insurance

inaugurated the seminar and welcomed the participants and appreciated the initiative of LII in organizing the event.

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Hunger engulfing whole planet: FPCCI

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South Asia will be the worst affected region

Convener FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Insurance Dr. Murtaza Mughal on Sunday said hunger is overwhelming the globe in the wake of coronavirus and climate change while South Asia will be the most effected region.

Experts say that the issue of food security is worrying them and the situation in South Asia will be alarming as half of the world’s malnourished people live in this region, he said.

Similarly, the region is on the top of undernourished children which is compromising future of South Asian nations, he added.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that Asia and Pacific is also on the top as far as the unjust distribution of wealth is concerned which has made it a region with the most obese population.

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Costly symbolic projects damaged country a lot: PEW

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Majority of projects based on political considerations
Construction of political projects on borrowed money is criminal

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Tuesday said the tendency of politicians to prefer symbolic and fancy projects over necessary projects have inflicted heavy losses on the country.

During the last fifty years, the majority of projects were designed to please the politicians while national interests were simply compromised, it said.

Billions were borrowed for fancy projects which was criminal while health, education, provision of clean drinking water, sanitation and supporting industrial and agricultural sectors was simply ignored, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

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Global powers failed to learn a lesson from pandemic

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The neoliberal economic system proved a house of cards
Short-term gains still preferred over longterm benefits

FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Insurance on Saturday said the global economic power have not learned a lesson from the pandemic which inflicted losses to the tune of trillions of dollars to the world.

The neoliberal economic system failed to tackle virus-related losses pushing the world into chaos resulting in heavy material and social losses, it said.

The situation is now improving but it can take an ugly turn anytime and the world is not prepared for it, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, Convenor of the FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Insurance.

He said that the faulty and fragile global economic system proved to be a house of cards amid pandemic but the majority of economic powerhouses are reluctant to take steps enabling economies and people to withstand shocks.

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Reshaping economy impossible sans strong insurance industry: FPCCI

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Low insurance penetration behind sluggish economic growth: Industry expert
Heavy taxation, rigid requirements keeping insurance sector weak: Hisham

Insurance sector employs more than 100,000 people directly and contributes around Rs20 billion in various taxes and duties to the national exchequer, an industry expert said Wednesday.

Pakistan insurance sector has one of the lowest insurance penetrations in the region which is holding economy back, said Muhammad Hisham, Chairman Lahore Insurance Institute

Talking to Dr. Murtaza Mughal, Convener FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Insurance, he said that policy problems are impeding growth of this critical sector which include heavy taxation of over 17 percent on most general insurance business which include high incident of taxation on health insurance.

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PMs decision to regulate realestate sector lauded: PEW

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Documentation of this sector to improve economy

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Saturday auded the decision of the Prime Minister Imran Khan to regulate the real estate sector by extablishing real estate regulatory authority which is a good step in the right direction.

The business community unconditionally supports the move which will safeguard rights of all the stakeholders, attract local and foreign investment and generate economic activity, it said.

The rules and regulations governing realestate sector as so weak that these are often used against the masses by real estate agents, builders and developers, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

He said that masses need a break as most of the people who invest their lifetime savings for a home are looted by this mafia.

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Seminar organized by FPCCI’s Central Standing Committee on Insurance

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Economic development through construction wishful thinking: Dr Waqar Masood
Wheat crisis engulfing entire country due to mismanagement: Mian Zahid Hussain
Govt lack experts who can take timely, correct decisions: Dr. Murtaza Mughal

Economic experts and business leaders on Friday lauded the PM Imran Khan’s move to develop the construction sector but cautioned that focus on only one sector will not revive economic activities.

They said all the important sectors deserve attention but the government lacks economic experts who can take timely and correct decisions based on ground realities.

Speaking at a seminar organized by FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Insurance, former federal secretary finance Dr. Waqar Masood Khan, former provincial minister, and convenor FPCCI Mian Zahid Hussain, Convenor of the FPCCI committee Dr. Murtaza Mughal, Chartered Accountant Tariq Hussain and others said that the economy is without direction which is hitting almost every sector.

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Govt asked to start importing wheat by itself

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Trusting the private sector to unleash another crisis
Import of sugar should be allowed to frustrate mafia

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Saturday asked the government not to depend on the private sector to balance shortage of staple and initiate wheat and sugar imports by itself without further delay.

The government has allowed import of ten million tonnes of wheat which is a good decision but the volume should be increased to fifteen million tonnes to calm the market and foil the unholy designs of the mafia, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

He said that presently the price of wheat in the international market is affordable therefore imports should not be delayed.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal who is also Convener FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Insurance said that government should cancel permits and impose heavy fines on those businessmen who are delaying wheat imports as they are part of the mafia.

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Agri Sector facing enormous problems, challenges: RDF workshop

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The government should realize the enormity of the challenges facing agriculture and make efforts to overcome them to ensure food security and avoid expensive spillover effects on the country’s social, economic and political system, speakers at a workshop said.

There has been no significant impact of Covid-19 on the agriculture sector which recorded a remarkable growth of 2.67 percent in 2019-20 compared to 0.58pc growth achieved last year except for cotton and sugarcane crop, said Dr Murtaza Mughal, President of the Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) and Convener FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Insurance.

Speaking to the workshop organized by the Rural Development Foundation (RDF), has said that water scarcity, substandard seed and fertilizers and recent locust outbreak resulted in heavy losses to the main crop production areas in Balochistan, Punjab, and Sindh provinces.

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Burden of pandemic, financial crisis shifted on masses

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Masses paying Rs45 tax on every liter of petrol
Devaluation, inflation tools to boost revenue

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Saturday said the entire burden of pandemic and financial crisis has been shifted on the poor masses which has added to their problems.

Many countries have increased taxes on rich to tackle coronavirus-related losses but here masses are being made to pay, it said.

Masses are paying Rs45 tax on every liter of petrol which must be reduced immediately, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW and Convener FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Insurance.

He said that devaluation and inflation are two tools to boost revenue but it remained counterproductive during the last two years despite forty percent erosion in the exchange rate and imposing new taxes of Rs1000 billion.

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Govt and Mafia collaborating against masses

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Govt has no justification to remain in power
Politicians, mafia two sides of the same coin

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Tuesday said government has no justification to remain in power as it has failed to deliver and added to the miseries of masses.

Mafia cannot operate without the full patronage of the government and it cannot continue business for a single day without support of authorities, he said.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW who is also Convener FPCCI Central Standing Committee on Insurance said that politicians and mafia have always remained close to each other but now masses are facing an unprecedented alliance between the two which has made their life very difficult.

While government and mafia seems to have teamed up against poor masses the attitude of opposition leaders has left much to be desired agitating many.

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BISP’s move lauded, exclusion of undeserving to save Rs16b: PEW

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday lauded the government’s move to streamline the database of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and exclude undeserving persons from the list of beneficiaries.
BISP has been supporting the poor since long and so far it has distributed around Rs700 billion among poor but politicians added millions of undeserving to the list of beneficiaries which was cruelty, it said.
Now the government has decided to remove over eight hundred thousand people from the list of beneficiaries which will save Rs16 billion annually which can be used to support the deserving which is a laudable move, said Chairman Brig. Muhammad Aslam Khan (Retd).
He said that how can those who own vehicles have land over 12 acres, travel abroad and pay heavy utility bills can get aid under BISP which was meant for the poor.
Aslam Khan noted that a political party is opposing this move with full force which indicates its involvement in the corruption which deprived poor of their right for years for the sake of political popularity.
BISP is the largest social safety net in Pakistan and its performance has been repeatedly lauded at home and abroad by various institutions and now it will be able to support the poor in an effective way, he said.
Such initiatives are essential to help poverty-stricken people, therefore, these programs need to be managed in a way that the benefits reach the targeted people and political interference is avoided.

Production targets compromised for idealistic revenue objectives: PEW

Tax target impractical, against national interests

IMF conditions resulting in negative growth

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Friday said production targets are being compromised for the unrealistic revenue objectives which are against the national interests.

IMF conditions have resulted in negative growth in important sectors of the economy while tax measures have made life difficult for the masses and the business community, it said.

The interest rate is kept one percent above then the desire of IMF which has damaged the economy and pushed many industries in the ICU, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

He said that compression of imports has saved four billion dollars but inflicted a revenue loss of Rs200 billion in five months while reduced GDP by tens of billions.

Discouraging imports has left many industries closed resulting in massive unemployment, loss of revenue and runaway inflation, he said.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that economy and the masses are paying the price of policies of the central bank which will result in a revenue loss of almost Rs500 billion for the whole year.

He said that failure to achieve unrealistically high revenue targets has resulted in squeezing of the business community and blocking of refunds which is hitting export industry badly.

Dr. Mughal noted that all the economic experts who negotiated a deal with IMF were well aware of the ground realities but they agreed to conditions which were damaging to the economy which is shocking.

Govt lauded for controlling external deficit: PEW

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday lauded the government for efforts to contain external deficit which has resulted in a surplus after four years.

Apart from government efforts, there are other important reasons which have played their role in improving the situation which includes the highest interest rate in the region which is luring some foreign investors, it said.

The foreign investors will lose interest once the government decide to trigger economic growth by reducing interest rates, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

He said that telecom companies have also paid heavy fees for the renewal of licenses while discouraging imports, a a contraction in the economy and sight improvement in exports have also played their role.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that contraction in the economy has also reduced demand for oil which has saved foreign exchange used to buy the oil which has helped the government overcome the current account deficit.

A dip in oil imports has helped constrict the trade deficit more than anything else which also indicate the economic situation which is far from satisfactory, he noted.

He said that maintaining such a position will be very difficult when economic activities started to pick up therefore long delayed reforms should not be delayed any more as the country needs a sustainable foundation on which to build the external sector’s strength.

The current state of revenue collection indicate that the country will face over 650 billion rupees shortfall and the government will have no option to burden the masses through a mini-budget which will break the back of the poor.

Unrealistic tax targets damaging economy: PEW

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said unrealistic tax target has become a threat to the troubled economy.

The policy of pressing taxpayers to meet unrealistic targets has resulted in widespread resentment among the business community which should be reconsidered, it said.

Revenue cannot be enhanced by highhandedness of the authorities as economic contraction and discouraging imports has its cost, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

Unnecessary focus on existing taxpayers and over-zealousness crackdown on evasion has not served any purpose but it has reduced revenue and it is resulting in the exodus of businesses and flight of capital, he added.

He said that suppressing demand has helped the government reduce imports by ten billion dollars which has also reduced revenue thus making the achievement of target impossible.

Dr Murtaza Mughal said that a policy is needed to trigger investment which is at the lowest ebb due to the fear among the investors.

He said that the country is facing problems because of policies of the successive governments to prefer real estate, trading, and speculation over the industry to create a false impression of economic improvement which took a toll on the economy.

How can the country progress when the manufacturing sector was overburdened with over 75 percent of total tax collection, he questioned.

The campaign against corruption launched fifteen months back has proved wastage of time and resources, therefore, it should be discontinued.

Poor masses to brave another gas bomb: PEW

Gas price hike to hit production, trigger inflation

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said the state-run gas companies have planned to drop another gas bomb on the masses to increase their profits.

The gas utilities are seeking up to Rs194 hike in per unit tariff of gas to earn additional Rs93 billion by burdening the masses facing unprecedented inflation, it said.

The move will stoke inflation and hit production in the industrial and agricultural sectors while it will also damage exports, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

The upward revision in the gas tariff will make it impossible for the central bank to reduce interest rates as expected by the business community, he added.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that the gas prices have already been increased up to 190 percent as per the agreement with the IMF and another massive increase will take a toll on the masses and the struggling economy.

He said that gas companies are only concerned with their profits disregarding the fact the increasing price of gas will reduce demand, increase theft, generate unemployment and spell disaster for the industrial sector.

The move will increase the profit of gas utilities but result in increased cost of doing business, closure of many businesses and widespread unemployment in the country, he added.

OGRA conduct a public hearing before notifying the increase in which stakeholders are heard but it has always proved to be a wastage of time, he said.

Dr. Mughal demanded that the government should decide that the interest of masses and economy activity is important for the country or the profit of gas companies.

Govt action against doctors mafia supported: PEW

No end to the greed of doctors

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Saturday lauded the government action against doctors who have become too greedy to be tolerated.

The government should control doctors mafia at any cost as they are exploiting the system to become rich overnight at the cost of poor patients, it said.

Doctors seldom act according to their oath, therefore, there should be a system in place to force them to act according to the ethics of the profession, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

He said that there should be a check and balance system so that helpless lives are not jeopardized by greedy doctors.

The pharmaceutical companies paying bribes to doctors to sell their products should be discouraged through the intervention of the government, he said, adding that some government doctors also prescribe expensive medicines of particular companies for commissions.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that there is no limit to the greed of doctors while immoral practices in domestic marketing of medicines have hindered the growth of the pharmaceutical industry.

He noted that the provincial and federal governments have been paying handsome salaries to the doctors, yet they prefer to spend most of their time at their own clinics when, in fact, they should be on duty at government hospitals.

Those doctors who run private clinics discourage the patients through harsh attitudes at a government facility and recommend to the patients to a private clinic which is a corrupt practice that must be discouraged.

Masses, traders pinning high hopes on Freedom March: PEW

The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said the masses and business community has pinned high hopes on the JUI-F led anti-government “Freedom March”.

The masses and business community distressed due to high inflation, surging unemployment, and other issues are hoping relief in the aftermath of the protest, it said.

Masses and the business community has run out of patience as the failures of the government on all the fronts and economic stagnation has left them confused and upset, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

Masses think that they have been cheated in the name of a change and now the only way to get relief is through agitation, he added.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that the recent wave of popularity of PML-N is not due to the efforts of leaders of the part but the blunders of the current government which has made life very difficult for everyone.

He noted that now politicians are being pushed to the wall on unwise changes while those holding important offices are busy in adding fuel to the fire.

Investors are facing uncertainty while the traders are on the streets protesting against taxation measures.

A large number of traders believe that the government should first target the wealthy industrialists and landed nobility before pursuing them which will leave them with no option but to pay their taxes honestly.

The protest is likely to be a major showdown between the Government and the opposition.