The Special Report: Economy of Pakistan

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    Pakistan, the world’s sixth largest population, is facing challenges of growing debt, trade deficit, current account deficit, and fiscal deficit. The reason can be summed up into a single word “dependency”. Unfortunately, Pakistan joining the defence pacts with the West and bilateral agreements with United States crippled Pakistan’s own decision making powers. Since then, the rulers here have had to prioritize American interests rather than national interests. Moreover, Pakistan have always needed IMF loans due to the gloomy economic condition and compromised the country’s sovereignty. The civil-military turf even deteriorated the situation, e.g. the ‘Memogate’ scandal and the ‘Dawn Leaks’.

    The political hierarchies should take responsibility of their actions. Neither incumbent government nor past ones have tried to uplift the economic status of country, generate jobs for thousands unemployed, allocate adequate funds for social sector, or any strong reforms to achieve economic targets. A major portion of our national budget is invested on army, leaving a meagre amount for social sectors. They should know that only strong economy can ensure strong defence. Pakistan had been politically unstable throughout its history. It would have been a different case if Pakistan’s political stability had maintained as now economists admit that the performance of any economy is influenced by politics.

    For a long period, Pakistan had been earning less and spending more. The same goes with the imports which had been more, and imports which had been less. The current imports bill of Pakistan is about $52 billion while its exports stand at $20 billion, resultantly devalues Pakistani currency against the dollar. Alarmingly, the gap between imports and exports is continuingly widening over the recent years. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s unconvinced claims are echoed in the zero growth in jobs, production and imports.

    Excluding that $20 billion imports, the current account deficit is $12 billion which is highest ever in the history of Pakistan. The current debt facing Pakistan accounts Rs. 18 trillion, including foreign debt of $72 billion. This level of debt could force Pakistan to seek help from IMF and other finance institutions and accept the terms & conditions attached with loans. As Dar claimed that Pakistan would become the 18th largest economy in the world by 2025, the reality says otherwise.

    The major problem confronting Pakistan is public debt that is crippling Pakistan and compromising its autonomy as well. It is high time our political hierarchies realize the fragility of situation and take serious notice of masses’ needs and expectations. A major portion of population want jobs, career opportunities and a decent livelihood. All the government institutions should be framed on a proper accountability system to get rid of foreign help.