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Economic upheaval

Tariq Khalique

Nonissues have always remained at the forefront in Pakistan, thanks to the successive governments, which continued to show elusiveness on the real issues being faced by the country.

Spanning over 70 years, the history of Pakistan showed dismal economic conditions, and in the next few years too, it looks the trend would continue.





In its second quarterly report on the state of the economy released on Monday (March 25, 2019), the State Bank of Pakistan slashed the economic growth of the country to 3.5 percent to four percent in the current financial year. Earlier in January, the central bank had forecasted the economy to grow at four percent to 4.5 percent, and in October 2018, it was predicted at 4.7 percent to 5.2 percent. This is the second time in three months that the State Bank has revised down its projection for the real GDP.

On the inflation front, the State Bank of Pakistan predicted rise during the second half of the current fiscal year owing to the second round impact of recent exchange rate depreciations, an upward adjustment in gas and electricity tariffs and higher budgetary borrowing from the central bank. However, the lagged impact of policy rate increases would be instrumental in keeping demand pressures in check, it noted.

All the economic indicators clearly suggest one thing that despite tall claims by the successive governments, no remedial measures were taken to keep a check on downslide in the economy.

The country’s economy faces multiple challenges, from high inflation, sharp deterioration in rupee value to depleting foreign exchange reserves, while government’s finances are also in shambles with high fiscal deficit.

Currently, Pakistan’s economy is going through a rough patch. Some economic indicators are on the decline, while some remain somewhat stagnant, which results in slow economic growth and increase in fiscal imbalance, preventing the government to cater to the needs of the growing population.





In a report, the World Bank had projected that Pakistan’s inflation is expected to rise and will remain high till fiscal year 2020. The outcome of the rupee devaluation against the US dollar in the domestic market coincided with an upward trend in oil prices. The trend will increase the manufacturing and transportation cost, resulting in price hike of all the commodities produced locally.

Aggressive approach towards its opponents might bring some happiness for the PTI government and its well-wishers, but in the long-term, it will definitely hurt the public sentiment because of the repercussions of the economic inactivity.

Pakistan has so far received 14 financing programmes from the International Monetary Fund since 1980, and the present government is also contemplating to go to the IMF, sooner or later, which will prove to be the last nail in the coffin. Having spent less time in government, it is very easy for Prime Minister Imran Khan to blame the previous governments for all the mess, but does it serve the purpose, is a million dollar question.

The government should stop blame-game and focus on the real problems being faced by the country; otherwise they might also see the same fate, which the previous governments experienced.

The politicians should now realise that the major portion of the country’s population has no interest in their statements and want financial stability in the country.

“We need to have a strong economy that can create employment opportunities and that can also produce the revenue that we need to defend our country at home and abroad.” (Bob Menendez, an American politician)

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