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Govt to limit imports for next 3 months: Miftah Ismail

Govt to limit imports for next 3 months: Miftah Ismail

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said on Friday that the government would control imports for the next three months, even if it came at the cost of slower growth.

“I will not allow imports to increase for three months and, in the meantime, we will come up with a policy. I understand that growth will be reduced for a bit but I have no other choice,” he said while addressing a ceremony at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX).

Talking about the exchange rate, Ismail noted that dollar outflows had been surpassing inflows, which is why the rupee had fallen sharply against the greenback over the last month.

“Even a small shopkeeper knows that if your sale is Rs30,000 a day and you buy stock worth Rs80,000, then you need to reduce the stock you buy. We did the same. We reduced imports to $4.9 billion from $7bn and all problems ended.”

The finance minister noted that the government’s import restrictions would affect the automobile and electronic appliances industries. He said he did not want to create unemployment, however, his first priority was the reduction of imports.

“When there was pressure, we imported a lot of oil and gas. At this time, we have [stock of] 30 days for diesel and petrol. We have furnace oil [supply] for six months. 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.”

More to follow.

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