Pick­ing up the pieces

Enterprise - - Editor's Desk -

The Karachi Stock Ex­change hit an all-time high fol­low­ing Nawaz Sharif’s strong vic­tory in land­mark elec­tions. This raised hopes that the new govern­ment’s pro-busi­ness agenda could spark an eco­nomic re­vival. The bench­mark in­dex of top 100 shares rose 1.68 per­cent to 20,250.42 points on May 14, sur­pass­ing the 20,000 mark for the first time. The rat­ings agency Stan­dard and Poor’s said the elec­tion re­sults set the stage for “longer-term sta­bil­ity” of its B- sov­er­eign credit rat­ing on Pak­istan. In­vestors hoped there would be an eco­nomic re­vival un­der Sharif, whose pro-busi­ness poli­cies earned him a good rep­u­ta­tion among traders and in­dus­tri­al­ists dur­ing his two pre­vi­ous tenures in the 1990s. The apex body of trade and in­dus­try, the Fed­er­a­tion of Pak­istan Cham­bers of Com­merce and In­dus­try (FPCCI) also hoped the in­com­ing govern­ment would com­mence ef­forts for re­vival of the econ­omy with­out los­ing any time. The FPCCI said that af­ter get­ting a full man­date from the masses, it was hoped Nawaz Sharif would over­come the en­ergy cri­sis by tak­ing bold de­ci­sions in the larger in­ter­est of Pak­istan’s eco­nomic sovereignty. It was said the na­tion could now look to­wards the new govern­ment’s whole­hearted fo­cus on national is­sues such as the econ­omy, cor­rup­tion and mil­i­tancy.

The govern­ment of Nawaz Sharif faces such chal­lenges as re­pay­ment of $3.9 bil­lion in FY 2013-14, $1.35 bil­lion in FY 2014-15 and $60 mil­lion in FY 2015-16. The new govern­ment could lessen pres­sure on the ru­pee-dol­lar par­ity and for­eign ex­change re­serves by uti­liz­ing over­seas Pak­ista­nis re­mit­tances in a ju­di­cious man­ner and at­tract­ing for­eign in­vest­ment from over­seas Pak­ista­nis and in­ter­na­tional busi­ness houses. The fact is that Pak­istan’s econ­omy needs ur­gent at­ten­tion, which means re­forms must be an­nounced as soon as pos­si­ble. It is also es­sen­tial for the new govern­ment to an­nounce an eco­nomic team that has rea­son­able do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional cred­i­bil­ity on the ba­sis of demon­strated com­pe­tence. Very soon Pak­istan will be go­ing to the IMF and the govern­ment would need to take steps to stop hem­or­rhag­ing in the pub­lic sec­tor en­ter­prises and state in­sti­tu­tions in or­der to raise rev­enue and re­strict spend­ing.

The Pak­istan econ­omy is no doubt in­ter­twined with the se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment, which means a cred­i­ble for­eign pol­icy also needs to be carved out. In this con­text, Pak­istan needs a clear National Se­cu­rity Strat­egy which will pro­vide it with the much-needed strate­gic di­rec­tion. It is also im­por­tant that the civil-mil­i­tary re­la­tion­ship be put on an even keel so that the coun­try has the ad­van­tage of ex­ploit­ing the struc­tural and or­ga­ni­za­tional strength of the mil­i­tary in all national poli­cies in­clud­ing counter-ter­ror­ism. It is un­for­tu­nate that the out­go­ing govern­ment never suc­ceeded in gain­ing cred­i­bil­ity be­cause of its all round fail­ure. It there­fore falls upon the new govern­ment of Mr. Nawaz Sharif to pick up the pieces and put Pak­istan on the path to eco­nomic re­cov­ery. This is a chal­lenge that the new Prime Min­is­ter and his team must take up in right earnest be­cause it is pri­mar­ily their per­for­mance on this count, be­sides many oth­ers, that will de­ter­mine the fu­ture of Pak­istan.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.