No IMF bailout, please

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An incapable team, lack of experience, absence of a clear economic policy and the habit of taking u-turns by the PTI government have started taking their toll on the economy and masses. Previously, the government remained busy refuting media reports that it would turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to revert economic recession. Now, however, it has decided to take a bailout package.

It will be an absolute disaster for the country to get deeper into IMF clutches. Their aim is to choke the economy so that it is unable to flourish, and remains dependent on the IMF/World Bank financial system which is controlling most of the world. Unfortunately, most of our so-called economists are trained to think within the box, and cannot be expected to produce anything original or meaningful. On the other hand, Russia and China are emerging as independent economies, and it would be prudent for us to lean more towards them as economic partners, rather than abrogating our economic sovereignty to the so-called IMF. The IMF has always imposed such money-collection measures on us that struck at the very roots of our economic growth potential so that by the time one IMF programme is completed, another one of double proportion becomes necessary. And this vicious circle has been going on for the last many decades. Our Forex reserves have continued to fall, our dependence on imported petroleum is continuing to multiply, cost of electricity escalating dangerously. In short, we never have hard currency reserves which make our sovereignty extremely vulnerable. We are over-dependent on foreign borrowings and they have placed us under covert sanctions. Earlier, the PTI had promised to get the country out of this whirlpool of problems, but they seem to be following the old rutted path leading us nowhere.

That Pakistan is a donor/aid dependent country is a fact in little doubt. However, what never ceases to amaze is that we do not put any effort into being anything but that; into reforming our economic system in such a way that we can tuck away our begging bowl and hold our heads up high. Presently, Pakistan government and economy are going through a rough patch. Reckless borrowing and wasteful spending by previous government has left PTI in a tough spot. The government needs to invest money in setting up more industries. It should hire young talented people who can set up local automobile, mobile phone, medical, aviation industries and invest money on locally made products. When the export will rise, we can get rid of the IMF debt.

Since the initiation of the assistance programme, IMF has urged Pakistan to take certain measure to improve budget deficit by improving exports and privatising the loss-making public enterprises. Although the previous government made some efforts, yet it failed completely. The loss-making entities like Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Railways, Pakistan Steel Mills, Power distribution companies and other state-owned companies have been running in losses for years. Although the progress of the economy hinges a lot on the increased exports and foreign direct investment in the country, an increase in the tax net is the utmost necessity to self-sustain the economy. Countries like Pakistan need to revisit the received wisdom and utilize their own wisdom to see what is in our best interests without dictation or the vice-likev grip of IMF programmes that have proved failures all over the world.

 

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