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Economy in a shambles

Economy in a shambles

As the term of the present government is going to end this year, the economy still suffers the old wounds and is awaiting a savior to start a healing process. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, which came to power with an agenda of economic revival, not only failed to clean up the mess created by the Pakistan People’s Party government, but also added its own set of troubles in it. If some policies were ill-advised and there was also lack of any implementation mechanism in the officialdom. The exports, which reached $25 billion in 2013, came down to $20 billion in 2017. The imports multiplied during the years and the government depreciated the Pakistani rupee as the only option to curb imports and curtail trade deficit. There was chest thumping euphoria in the official circles when Pakistan was granted GSP status by the European Union, but the bubble burst in a few months. Exports could not be picked, rather went down by $5 billion in four years, leaving the economy in awe and shock. No one at the helm of affairs is ready to take responsibility of the policy failures. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had been claiming macroeconomic stability all along the days he was active in the office, but no sooner he left on leave, cracks began to appear in the national economy.

The current prime minister has expressed the desire to boost exports, especially by reviving the textile industry. However, there is also need to fully implement the export package of Rs 180 billion announced by erstwhile prime minister Nawaz Sharif. According to reports, the Federal Textile Board has already proposed various initiatives but a long-term policy in this regard is yet to be announced. The economy is already going through traumas of rupee devaluation, trade deficit and low exports. In this situation, there is a need to work on war footings to bring the economy back on track. The biggest challenges before the government are to overcome trade deficit, generate export surplus and maintain foreign exchange reserves which are dwindling day by day. The government has recently imposed regulatory duty on import of various items, including raw material and it is feared the move will increase the cost of production in the country. Despite political uncertainty, it is hoped sanity will prevail and the policymakers will continue to work for the betterment of the country.