Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said on Friday that the government would control imports for the next three months, even if that meant growth would be slower.
“I won’t let imports go up for three months, and in that time, we’ll figure out what to do. I know that growth will slow for a little while, but I have no choice,” he said at a ceremony at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX).
Ismail talked about the exchange rate and said that more dollars were leaving the country than were coming in. This is why the rupee had dropped sharply against the dollar over the past month.
“Even a small store owner knows that if you sell Rs30,000 a day but buy Rs80,000 worth of stock, you need to cut back on the amount of stock you buy. We did what they did. We cut imports from $7 billion to $4.9 billion, and all problems went away.”
The finance minister said that the government’s restrictions on imports would hurt the industries of cars and electronics. He said he didn’t want to make more people unemployed, but his main goal was to cut down on imports.
“When there was pressure, we bought a lot of oil and gas from other countries. At the moment, we have enough diesel and gasoline for 30 days. We have enough oil for the furnace to last for six months. In terms of our energy security, energy supply, and other obligations, we are in a very good place. For the next four months, we will keep an eye on imports.”