PAKISTAN FLEXING THE ECONOMIC MUSCLE
In a post covid 19 lockdown scenario, the booming automobile industry, surplus current account balance, increased flow of remittances, revival of textile industry, record cement sales combined with the government’s focus on construction industry hint at signs of economics reversal after years’ long prevailing doomsday scenario. However, a broad-based recovery is still a dream which can be translated into reality provided the policy makers keep focusing on actions rather than words. No doubt, the domestic consumption is the major driving force behind the scene. It is a healthy sign that the present development in consumption is not driven by imports. That is the reason, we have witnessed large-scale manufacturing improvement and the current account post a surplus during the first quarter of the financial year.
The question arises whether the latest developments are windfall or took place in consequent upon the efforts made and claimed by the people in government. Here comes the Word Economic Forum (WEF) which held Country Strategy Dialogue on Pakistan in the last week of last month. Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the CSD and participated in an interactive dialogue with the President of WEF, Mr. Børge Brende, and Chairpersons and CEOs of leading global corporations and WEF partner companies. CSD is WEF’s signature platform for countries with rising economies and promising growth potential. The upcoming CSD is the second such event organized by WEF for Pakistan this year.
As per schedule, Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the Country Strategy Dialogue (CSD) on Pakistan held by the WEF virtually. The premier recounted the economic challenges the PTI government inherited and what it was doing to tackle them, and expressed concern that the second wave of the coronavirus could spell more trouble for the country. He let the participants know that his government was removing impediments and red tape to make it easier for investors to make a profit in Pakistan, adding that the Pakistan of 2020 was “all about creating wealth” through industrialisation. He said in the 1960s, Pakistan was a model for the developing world because of rapid industrialisation, but in the 1970s it became more socialist and “profit-making almost became a crime”. “This is the first government in Pakistan since the 1960s which has made it a point that we want to make profit-making easy for people ... and investors,” he said. The prime minister said it took his government nearly a year to eliminate the hurdles and red tape in the construction sector and it was trying to do the same for small and medium enterprises and capital markets. So far so good. Lets see what is going to take place in the days to come since the overall situation is not hanging in favor of common man.
Shahid A. Khan