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Economy and national pride

Economy and national pride

A euphoria grips the policymakers in Pakistan once the words of appreciation come from any side and they refuse to differentiate between praise and insinuation.The officials of the donor agencies are in the habit of issuing statements purely for diplomatic reasons and often with hidden meanings in utter disregard to the factual situations. Until recently, International Monetary Fund chief has lauded the ‘outstanding performance’ of the government in the fields of finance and economy. In a meeting with the Pakistani delegation, she said that the Pakistani government is improving economic discipline and stabilizing the financial sector.The chief, who herself is facing tough questions about her integrity in the financial institution, congratulated the Pakistani officials for starting a reform process in the country which required ‘tough decisions’. She said that the country is going to ensure growth rate that is compatible with the other countries in the region.

The praise showered on the government and the finance minister shows how the leaders of this country are subservient to their foreign masters and need a foreign qualification to prove their mettle. The praise in hidden words is the warning that the Pakistani government must continue to comply with the conditionalities of the IMF programme. The Pakistani delegation assured the head of the donor agency that the government has fully complied with the performance criteria for the next review as the three year extended facility programme is nearing to be completed. Unfortunately, the export sector continued on its downward trajectory and debt servicing is going to haunt the national economy in the near future, but the officials still do not hesitate to paint rosy picture of everything. Though the government has successfully contained inflation, increased foreign exchange reserves and the State Bank of Pakistan has maintained low policy rate, it is yet to be seen how the private sector will react to the increasing rates of taxes and tough legislation which is going to be in place against alleged tax evaders.

As a respectablecountry, Pakistan should devise its own policies, keeping in view the ground realities. Pakistan is a big country and has a blend of agro-industrial economy. If the policymakers only streamline the administrative affairs, no one can stop the country from becoming an economic tiger. Unfortunately, despite tough laws, the writ of the government is not fully implemented and the official machinery has no guts to stand firm in the face of defiance from any quarter. The country will progress only when everyone will be treated as equal before the law and in that case there will be no need to yearn for foreign appreciation.