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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Tackling inflation, food scarcity an uphill task for new economic managers

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ISLAMABAD: Amid warning by the world’s top lending institutions, the economic managers of ruling coalition have taken over an economy hit by stolen funds, waived off loans, record inflation and sluggish growth. Wheat flour shortages and power deficiency that played a decisive role in recent election could prove an important factor if not tackled properly.

Number of people living under minimum food security level is increasing day by day which could hit growth and hike health costs. Presently 77 million people are facing food shortage and their low intake is hitting households in every direction. Growing fiscal imbalances is another aspect to be considered seriously and dealt skillfully.

The entire world is watching the moves by the incumbent government and wants to see a new cycle of accountability as a record over Rs. 1 trillion loans have been waived off by the banks, stabbing the economy. The repeated statements of top officials’ give an impression that the Government is not yet well equipped to revive economy and is relying upon holding others responsible.

The economy of Pakistan known as casino economy across the financial capitals of the world is slowing down with enhanced speed since last three years, said a statement issued by Pakistan Economy Watch. Economic managers of Pakistan will not only have to tackle inflation but support of cabinet colleagues in the coalition that has never before formed a government.

The policies of present Finance Minister were business friendly in the past and we hope that he will do more to bail out country from the current situation. A past government was blamed to bring the country to the verge of defaulting on $38 billion of foreign debt, with foreign exchange reserves at the comparable to two weeks of imports.

On the other hand, since 2004, the economy has expanded at an average annual rate of 7.5 per cent and foreign currency reserves have climbed to $14 billion, equivalent to six months of imports. Stocks have surged 14-fold since 2001. But, the State Bank of Pakistan recently said that price increase may accelerate to as much as 9 per cent this fiscal year, exceeding the target of 6.5 percent.

Estimates suggest that real GDP growth in 2008 would be in the range of 6 per cent, lower than the 7.2 percent target, said chairman of Pakistan Economy Watch Dr. Murtaza Mughal. Government has raised 440 million USD so far by selling national assets and now it is gearing up to sell Kot Addu Power Company, Habib Bank Limited and National Bank of Pakistan to raise 3.5 billion US dollars which can be used to stabilize the economy.

Pakistan should also look towards Arab and other reliable friends who have always helped the country while it starts sailing in troubled waters. State Bank of Pakistan has blamed strength in international commodity prices but on the other hand some economies continue to perform well in the current scenario and Pakistan should also strive for it keeping the past mistakes in mind.-SANA

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Rubab Saleemhttp://www.rubabsaleem.com
Rubab Saleem is Editor of Pakistan Times
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