As the country faces serious economic and energy crises, traders have called upon the government to ban the import and use of over 1,000cc cars by government officials to reduce consumption of petroleum products and overcome the energy crisis.
Sarfraz Mughal, president of the Traders Welfare Association of Super Market, told the media on Monday that there is a need to get rid of IMF loans and achieve that objective, the country needs to drastically reduce the import of petroleum products, which costs the national exchequer $20 billion annually.
According to Mr Mughal, the proposed ban on the use of cars with over 1,000cc engines by government officials would lead to a significant reduction in fuel consumption.
This would not be a new policy for the country, as a similar measure was put in place during the tenure of former Prime Minister Mohammad Khan Junejo in 1985.
In 1985, Mr Junejo announced an austerity drive requiring government officials to replace their luxury vehicles with 800cc to 1,000cc cars/vehicles.
He stated that all government officials, including those in the military, would be required to use small cars/vehicles. His office and residence became a model for other government officials as the prime minister started entertaining his personal and family guests from his personal funds.
Given the current state of the economy, we as a nation must come together to devise a strategy for repaying our debt. This includes both our foreign and domestic loans.
I urge all politicians and business leaders to contribute from their wealth to help repay the national debt. Only by working together can we hope to improve our economic situation.
He stated that the nation had also assisted in the 1990s when “Qarz Utaro Mulk Sanwaro” was enacted during the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s period. He recommended that a shared account with the IMF be opened, and the country’s elite be asked to deposit money into it.
Another trader, Sheikh Muhammad Ghous, said that details of account should be shared with the media on a daily basis so that the credibility of the noble cause could be established and people could be informed how much amount/loan had been repaid and how much was still to be paid.
“Today our economy has been severely suffering and we have been forced by the IMF to accept all its conditions,” he added.
Another trader, Chaudhry Nadeem, said the whole nation should contribute to repay the national debt and the elite class should contribute more to this noble cause as it had benefited a lot over the last over 70 years.