Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said that the government was planning to limit imports for the next three months, as the recent import ban helped improve the economy.
“We will not allow imports to increase for at least three months, which may affect growth, but we have no other option,” the finance minister said while addressing a ceremony at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Friday.
The minister said that the government would control imports even if it lead to a slower growth rate.
He explained the rupee’s steep descent against the greenback to the fact that the dollar outflows had been exceeding inflows, and said that a reduction in imports would help counter that.
Miftah said that the objective was not to create unemployment but to reduce imports, noting that the decision would affect automobile and electronic appliance industries the most.
He said that the value addition of automobile, mobile and appliance assembling units was very low and 95% of their production cost was based on imports.
“The government will allow imports for these industries as they also generate employment,” the minister added.
He said that the government had made provisions in advance and had a decent stock of fuel resources. “We are very comfortable in terms of our energy security and energy supply, and other obligations. We will control imports for the next four months.”
The finance minister said that the trade deficit in Pakistan was very high, adding that measures should be taken to reduce the deficit and the tax net should be increased to improve the economy.
The minister said that there was a need to increase exports. “As a nation, we have to pay more taxes” he added.
He said that our first priority was to stabilize the economy, adding that there was no quick solution that would avert the economic crisis.