Businesses on Tenterhooks

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Businesses on Tenterhooks


Businessmen and investors are cautious to take long-term positions

A likely change in the government and the ongoing political uncertainty in the country is harmful to the businesses and the economy, stakeholders said.

The opposition parties’ alliance, Pakistan Democratic Movement and the Pakistan Peoples’ Party, have tabled a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, accusing him of mismanaging the economy.

An in-house change is almost certain after key government allies, Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Balochistan Awami Party, Jamhoori Watan Party and independent parliamentarians, switched to the other side. Around two dozen Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNAs are also supporting the joint opposition in a bid to oust their own party leader from the prime minister’s office.

Punjab has also become a battleground after the ruling party accepted the resignation from its Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar to hand over the responsibility of the provincial chief executive to Chaudhry Parvez Elahi. Though the ruling coalition requires numbers for a smooth change in the biggest federating unit, dissident groups of PTI, that is, Jehangir Khan Tareen, Abdul Aleem Khan and independents, could pave the way for the success of the joint opposition.

While the political parties are locking horns to remain in power, or take over the government, businessmen and investors are cautious to take long-term positions, as uncertainties are at its peak.


A leading company dealing in fast-moving consumer goods, Fair Marketing Chief Executive Muhammad Ejaz Tanveer said that the situation is harmful to the smooth business activities.

“Businesses and the economy are the ultimate sufferers of the prevailing political chaos,” he said, adding that uncertainty is dangerous for smooth business activities.

“In such circumstances, businesses defer plans of short- and long-term investments for further expansion. Foreign direct investment also suffers in such a scenario,” he said, while talking to BOL News.

The businesses would adopt a wait and see approach for making any further investment, he said, adding: “The change in the government increases the likelihood of subsequent changes. That’s why every government should complete its term. Now, the people will evaluate the policies of the next government before making any investment.”

The approach of the government towards the economy was entirely different from the two successive ones.

“The policies of PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz governments were trade and import-based. They prefer generating revenue through trading and import duties. Both continued the same policy, which was not sustainable in the long run,” Tanveer said, adding that the Imran Khan-led government changed the policy 180 degrees.


“My company was the sufferer of this radical change in policy. We set up business on that track but the government abandoned import-based policy and encouraged local manufacturing and exports,” he said, adding that he raised the issue of not giving enough time to the legal importers before raising duties with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood.

In case of the government change, the business community would wait till getting knowledge about the economic policy of the next government, Tanveer said.

Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Executive Committee Member Ahmad Fraz Sethi said that the situation is tough for the business community.

“It is negatively impacting economic growth. A country like Pakistan cannot afford prolonged political unrest. Both the government and the opposition should resolve issues in the Parliament in the larger interest of the nation,” he added.

“Carrying out protests, or rallies, was not suited to a ruling party. Similarly, it was not good for the opposition parties to go for government change only just one year before completion of its legitimate term that has already lost enough time, while fighting the pandemic.”

The political leadership should have considered that the country could not afford such a situation, said Sethi, who is also the chief executive officer of Ahmad Bearing Centre.


“We were entering the election year after the budget. The government change at this stage is uncalled for,” he said.


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