PML-N demands probe into recent rupee depreciation


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Saturday demanded a proper investigation into the recent dollar hike and subsequent rupee devaluation.

Addressing a press conference, PML-N leader Zubair Umar said that the incumbent government has failed to set direction in its first 100 days as there is still an enormous pressure on the local currency. The discount rate is now in double digits, leading to rising inflation and a surge in debt, all because of the devaluation of rupee, he added.

He said that a telephone call was made from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to all heads of banks in which it was said that “there is no level today”, which means that everything is open. After that, we witnessed how the exchange rate went from Rs134 to 145 in just half an hour, he added.

Referring to Finance Minister Asad Umar’s statement that the former government had artificially controlled the value of rupee, he said that it is wrong to say that the incumbent government did not intervene in this matter as the finance minister, two weeks ago, had claimed that the balance of payment crisis was over but now the dollar has gone up to Rs145.

“If someone says that the balance of payment crisis is over then it means that you have enough dollars,” he said.

He said that the government should investigate this matter as many people lost their hard-earned money because of rupee devaluation.

Referring to the achievements of the previous government, he said that PML-N had inherited issues, including terrorism, energy crisis and lowest growth rate in June 2013 but despite all, they successfully brought the country out of a crisis.

“Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif took oath on June 6 and he went to China on June 22 and the leadership of both countries established a ministerial committee on mutual matters and in August 2013, a high-level delegation of China visited Pakistan,” he said.

In addition to this, he said, all stakeholders, under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif, unanimously agreed on starting the Karachi operation in September 2013. “Our government had empowered the Rangers and in the last three years, for not even a single day, had Karachi been shut down,” he said.

“Our team, in the first 100 days, successfully negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and subsequently the discount rate went down to 5 per cent. Inflation also remained in single digit,” he added.

He said that PM Khan used to blame the PML-N government for rupee depreciation even though he alleged that the government itself increases the inflation and depreciates the rupee value.

He also said that the incumbent government had said that the domestic debt was Rs30,000 billion in May 2018 while the PML-N government had left domestic debt at Rs24,000 billion and private sector debt at Rs6,000 billion.

Criticising PM Khan further, he said that the prime minister needed time to understand economic matters. “During his Saudi Arabia and Malaysia visits, he was criticising the previous governments. Khan sahib, our government never did any such blunders when we went abroad rather we presented the positive image of Pakistan. On one side, he was projecting a negative image and on the other, he was asking for investments,” he said.

Responding to a question, he said that the government will not be able fulfil its promise of 10 million jobs and 5 million houses to the poor as it is not competent enough to do it.