Pak­istan's Econ­omy Rated 'Mostly Un­free'

The Financial Daily - - CONTINUATIONS -

KARACHI: Pak­istan's econ­omy is 'mostly un­free' as peo­ple are not em­pow­ered enough to work, pro­duce, con­sume, own, trade and in­vest as per their per­sonal choices, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study con­ducted by a lead­ing Wash­ing­ton-based think tank.

The 2015 In­dex of Eco­nomic Free­dom, which is de­vel­oped by the Her­itage Foun­da­tion in part­ner­ship with The Wall Street Jour­nal, ranks Pak­istan 121st among 178 coun­tries of the world when it comes to eco­nomic free­dom.

The in­dex cat­e­gorises coun­tries in five groups: free, mostly free, mod­er­ately free, mostly un­free and re­pressed. Pak­istan ranks in the sec­ond last cat­e­gory with the likes of Nige­ria (120), Kenya (122), In­dia (128) and Bangladesh (131).

"Pak­istan has pri­va­tised some state-run in­dus­tries, but the econ­omy is still heav­ily reg­u­lated, and poor se­cu­rity dis­cour­ages for­eign in­vest­ment," the Her­itage Foun­da­tion said in its brief com­men­tary on the state of eco­nomic free­dom in Pak­istan.

Re­ac­tion in Pak­istan to the in­dex and Pak­istan's poor rank- ing in it was some­what mixed. Some eco­nomic ex­perts were cog­nisant of the fact that the govern­ment's reg­u­la­tion of the econ­omy has many short­com­ings. But many on the left of the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum chose to de­light at Pak­istan's ab­sence of eco­nomic lib­erty.

Dr Ikra­mul Haq said a poor reg­u­la­tory frame­work is eat­ing away at the eco­nomic free­dom of the av­er­age Pak­istani cit­i­zen.

"Reg­u­la­tory short­com­ings and en­force­ment is­sues have cur­tailed eco­nomic lib­erty in Pak­istan," he said.

Tak­ing into ac­count na­tional poli­cies that im­prove or hurt eco­nomic free­dom of or­di­nary cit­i­zens, the in­dex assesses an econ­omy via 10 broad in­di­ca­tors, namely prop­erty rights, free­dom from cor­rup­tion, fis­cal free­dom, govern­ment spend­ing, busi­ness free­dom, labour free­dom, mon­e­tary free­dom, trade free­dom, in­vest­ment free­dom and fi­nan­cial free­dom.

In Pak­istan's case, four of the 10 in­di­ca­tors showed im­prove­ment over the last year, four showed de­te­ri­o­ra­tion while two re­mained flat.

Pak­istan's score went up by 0.4 points over the last year, which is re­flec­tive of im­prove­ments in the cat­e­gories of in­vest­ment free­dom and free­dom from cor­rup­tion. How­ever, these im­prove­ments are coun­ter­bal­anced by de­te­ri­o­ra­tions in labour free­dom and busi­ness free­dom.

With its over­all score be­low the world and re­gional av­er­ages, Pak­istan is ranked 25th

See # 13 Page 11

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