ISLAMABAD    -   Inflation has eroded the purchasing power of the masses is dragging the economy down that must be noticed by the policymakers, a business leader said Sunday. The economy can never improve unless the government reduces increasing expenditures and restore the buying power of masses through policy intervention, said ICCI former President Shahid Rasheed Butt. He said that high interest rates, runaway inflation and negative tax policies have become a major obstacle in the economic activities leaving two million unemployed and compelling millions more to work on reduced wages. Shahid Rasheed Butt said that the middle class plays a vital role in the development of an economy which is shrinking at a fast pace while life has become very difficult for the poor.

He noted that people paid Rs1.1 trillion in taxes a decade back while now they are paying Rs3.8 trillion as taxes but they are called thieves by the government. On the other hand, the expenses of the government have jumped from Rs1.5 trillion to Rs7.2 trillion in a decade which is a record. The present government has pushed debt and liabilities to Rs4.2 trillion. The debt and liabilities have been increased by Rs10,335 billion which is a record while the loans have surpassed GDP for the first time in the history of Pakistan. Mr. Butt noted that power tariff is continuously increasing but losses of the power sector have jumped to Rs1700 billion, the losses of state-run corporations have exceeded Rs2100 billion and gas sector losses have jumped to two billion dollars for which masses are not responsible.

Bureaucracy and politicians have played havoc with the country and now they are trying to fill the exchequer by choking the private sector which is impossible.