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Pakistan’s economic security

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Pakistan is currently teetering on the brink of economic collapse. The recent floods have only added to this dire situation, and the loss to our economy has been unprecedented.

We can avoid this harsh truth as much as we want, but the fact cannot be denied that without strong, drastic measures Pakistan will have no choice but to default.

It is imperative that the government impose an economic emergency. This should be done with the consensus of all stakeholders. It is also extremely important to design and implement economic policies that range from short, mid to long term. The goal should be to implement policies that can carry the country forward. These policies need to be stand-alone, not affiliated with any political party, and should be applicable to all governments, regardless of affiliations. If need be, Pakistan should pass a constitutional amendment which enables it to enforce this policy without political advantage seeking.

The PDM government effectively discouraged luxury imports in order to enhance exports; however, this policy seems to be tapering off gradually. Export promotion needs to be the foundation of our economic policy and promoting industry and factories should be emphasized. Without industrial production, the economy cannot thrive.

It is also imperative to highlight human security. Pakistan cannot thrive if our focus does not shift to effectively prioritizing human security. This will involve synchronization between our economic, trade, foreign, food, security, export, import, industrial and climate change policies. After the National Security Policy Document of 2021, we saw a shift towards human security. And it is crucial this remains the cornerstone of any security policies going forward. Without human security, the social fabric will crumble, and with it, any chances of a stable economy crumble too.

The country needs a proper system for monitoring and evaluation. This system needs to oversee the working and harmonization of these policies and also amend and implement adjustments and changes whenever necessary.

Another area where there seems to be no harmony is in our commercial diplomacy. It is necessary that Pakistan should have a well-researched and well-thought-out commercial diplomacy policy. This policy needs to be bolstered by related institutions and qualified and trained people. Although it is a utopian idea, the well-being of the country needs to come above petty alliances and nepotism. People selected for these posts must be trained and capable. Their primary goal should be to enhance bilateral trade and exports, bringing in foreign direct investment and creating and strengthening ties with neighbouring as well as other relevant countries around the world.

Keeping women out of the economy has a massively damaging impact as they comprise more than half of the population. For economic growth, it is imperative that all citizens, including urban and rural women, have access to opportunities for entrepreneurship, business ownership, and capital. Keeping such a large chunk of the population out of the economy has a debilitating impact on the GDP of any country.

The government should devise strategies to prevent savings from only being invested in the real estate market and to move them towards economic areas that may be more productive or to long-term investment funds. In order to do this, it will be an uphill task to build people’s trust in the economy. The Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cannot be the only fallback to our economy. Productive and prosperous economic growth will not be seen if we stay ensnared in the IMF system.

Pakistan needs to move towards the economic security goals of human resource development, poverty alleviation, and most importantly, political stability. The past year, specifically, has demonstrated how political instability and bad economic policies can bring a country to the doorstep of default.

Investing in Pakistan can be an arduous and complicated process for most foreign investors. The risks of an unstable economy also deter them from bringing their capital into the country. It is, therefore, imperative to have an investor-friendly system in order to encourage FDI.

The Board of Investment (BoI) needs to work on promoting investment by simplifying the steps and do its utmost to move upward on the ease of doing business index. For this, the BoI will have to be restructured with a skilled management that can help Pakistan move forward.

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President Asif Zardari emphasizes the importance of offering assistance to the impoverished and middle-income groups in the federal budget.

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President Asif Ali Zardari has emphasized the importance of offering assistance to the impoverished and middle-income individuals in the forthcoming federal budget for the fiscal year 2024-25.

President Asif Ali Zardari expressed these remarks during in a meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The conference was attended by Ahsan Iqbal, the Federal Minister for Planning and Special Initiatives.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held a meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday to request complete support from him and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for the next budget approval.

The President pledged to offer complete cooperation in attaining the objectives for the economic and developmental advancement of the nation.

Additionally, please peruse: Overview of the 2024-25 Budget

Both parties engaged in a discussion over the current economic state of the country. In addition, they deliberated on factors regarding the provision of assistance to the general people in the forthcoming budget.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also briefed the president about his recent visit to China. Leaders of nations and governments also deliberated on the development initiatives outlined in the forthcoming budget.

President Asif Ali Zardari emphasized to the Prime Minister the importance of offering assistance to the impoverished and middle-class individuals in the forthcoming federal budget.

The government is set to unveil a budget of Rs. 18 trillion.

It is important to mention that the government is prepared to deliver a federal budget above Rs18,500 billion today (Wednesday).

The government has allotted a sum of Rs2,100 billion for defense expenditures and Rs9,700 billion for interest payments on reserved loans. An allocation of Rs. 1500 billion has been made for development projects.

The budget allocates 253 billion rupees for the energy sector, 827 billion rupees for infrastructure, 800 billion rupees for energy sector subsidy, 206 billion rupees for water resources, and 279 billion rupees for transport and communication. The budget has a GDP growth target of 3.6 percent.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will collect taxes amounting to Rs. 12,970 billion.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has been assigned a tax collection target of 12,970 billion rupees for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) would need to generate an additional revenue of 3,720 billion rupees, with 3,452 billion rupees coming from direct taxes and 267 billion rupees from customs duties, in comparison to the current financial year.

The Inland Revenue’s tax revenue is projected to reach 11,379 billion rupees, with direct taxes accounting for 5,512 billion rupees and income tax contributing 5,454 billion rupees.

The income tax volume has set an extra objective of 1773 billion rupees, bringing the total aim to 2500 billion rupees.

Conversely, the parliamentary party of PPP convened a meeting led by former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. During the meeting, assembly members voiced their apprehensions about the budget and stated that the terms upon which Shehbaz supported the government have yet to be fulfilled.

PPP leader Syed Khurshid Shah expressed his lack of knowledge on the specific details of the budget, as well as the agreements with the IMF and China, during a conversation with the media. In the past, the opposition was consulted, while an ally is not consulted.

The government is presenting a growth-oriented budget today, which amounts to Rs18,900 billion.

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Pakistan

The Prime Minister expressed deep sorrow at the demise of the Vice President of Malawi in an aviation accident.

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif conveyed his profound sorrow on the demise of Vice President Saulos Chilima of Malawi in a sad aviation accident.

The prime minister sent his support to the government and citizens of Malawi during this difficult time and offered his condolences to the grieving family.

Saulos Chilima perished in an aviation accident, alongside nine other individuals, as declared by the nation’s President Lazarus Chakwera in a national speech.

The airplane became untraceable after it was unable to successfully touch down at the Mzuzu International Airport, located around 380 kilometers north of the capital city, Lilongwe. Chakwera has announced that the plane wreckage has been found.

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The court authorizes court reporting through the use of the IHC and grants permission to the media.

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The court has authorized the media to report on court proceedings, with adherence to the guidelines specified in a Supreme Court ruling.

The Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) issued a written ruling granting approval for the plea to delay the hearing of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and instructed that the matter be scheduled for a hearing in the first week of July.

The ruling is a result of petitions submitted by the Islamabad High Court Journalist Association, press association, and Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), which contested the PEMRA announcement.

On May 24th, the IHC sent notifications to PEMRA and the information secretary after receiving a petition that questioned the authority’s prohibition on publishing judicial proceedings. The court issued an injunction preventing PEMRA from imposing any disciplinary measures on television channels based on the present notification.

The court has also issued a notice regarding a miscellaneous petition that seeks to completely halt the PEMRA notification. This lawsuit exemplifies the ongoing legal dispute regarding the control of media coverage of court proceedings and the delicate balance between media freedom and the integrity of the judiciary.

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