My appointment as spokesperson is secondary issue: Farrukh Saleem
“What difference does it make whether if I am the government’s spokesperson or not, but what I am saying is true: we have devalued the currency rate up to 30% in last one year” Saleem said. “Similarly, our exports have been reduced from 1.9 billion in November 2017 to 1.8 billion in November 2018”.
Dr. Farrukh Saleem made these comments while speaking to Dr. Moeed Pirzada on his prime-time show “Live with Moeed Pirzada” at GNN. Controversy on Mr. Saleem’s status as the government’s spokesperson was stirred after Mr. Saleem dished out criticism on the government’s economic policies in a tv program.
His criticism was picked up by anti-government Twitterati and the Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry tweeted out a clarification.
Clarification is needed @SaleemFarrukh is not spokesperson of the Government. We ought to have appointed Dr sb Govt’s Spokesperson on economy but later it transpired that PM office has banned any hirings so his Appointment could never transpire,he is free to have any opinion https://t.co/SrQiJnNJD7— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) January 2, 2019
Fawad Chaudhry, on 9th October, 2018 had announced Mr. Saleem’s appointment as the spokesperson to the federal government on economic affairs.
Ministry of Information is pleased to announce that Dr Farrukh Saleem will be the Government’s spokesperson on Economy and energy issues, notification shall follow accordingly @SaleemFarrukh— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) October 9, 2018
Mr Farrukh Saleem, on Dr. Pirzada’s program also said that the need of hour is to embark on curtailing the economic challenges rather to plug ourselves who did what. “I am not indulging myself in the question of which political party is responsible for the devaluation of our currency but the truth is that it is happening and both (PML-N and PTI) are equally responsible for it. Both governments were expecting the uplift of export on the cost of devaluation of currency but failed”.
Expressing his views on industrial sectors in general Dr. Farrukh Saleem said that “no doubt the automotive sector has been slowed down, not only in Pakistan but elsewhere in the world as well. But the government has given assurance to All-Pakistan Textile Mill Association that soon the production plants will be revived and facilitated with reasonable gas price”.
Since, textile industry is contributing to two thirds of Pakistan’s exports, about two hundred mills in Punjab were shut down during PML-N tenure. Moreover, up to 50% industry’s labor is connected with the textile industry. He said that “All-Pakistan Textile Mill Association has assured the government that if gas subsidy is provided to them, they will re-generate up to 5 lac jobs in three to six months in Pakistan. It’s not all negative everywhere”.
Textile export is currently Rs.13-14 billion; Dr Farrukh Saleem said that “if existing government policies flourish on the same pattern, the textile exports will increase to Rs.26 billion”.
Referring toward the Assad’s policy of increasing exports Dr. Farrukh Saleem said that during PPP government we (Pakistan) were exceeding Bangladesh in export i.e. 26 and 24 billion respectively. Now our exports have been reduced to 20 billion and counterpart Bangladesh has increased its export to 37 billion. “If you ask from a businessman or exporter, they give three reasons for it: First, our electricity is more expensive than Bangladesh. Second, availability and prices of gas are not compatible with Bangladesh. Third, the taxation policy and cost of production in Pakistan is higher than Bangladesh. It is true because government has imposed 35% of corporate taxes which is one of the highest in the world”.
In addition, the problem of uncertainty is forging much threat and insecurity to businessmen and investors. Dr. Farrukh Saleem said that the confusion on the part of government that whether we are joining IMF or not is creating an atmosphere of uncertainty which is restricting them from investing in Pakistan. “The only solution to economic challenges is to clarify the government policy before business community followed by reforms in order to give a clear picture to all stakeholders.”