Current account surplus



IN what could be termed as an important development, the country posted a surplus of $ 654 million in March. According to the figures of the SBP, it was the first time since November 2020 that the current account was in the surplus territory, with the latest being the highest one since February 2015.

This really demonstrates the fiscal discipline demonstrated by the government to steer the country out of dire straits when it is faced with an unprecedented liquidity crunch. Having said so, this surplus should have been seen more positively had this been achieved without cutting the imports of necessary raw material which significantly hit the industries and led to their closure. Given the low foreign exchange reserves which were barely enough to meet import of one month, the government indeed had no other option but resort to such strict restrictions but if we really want to get out of this serious balance of payment crisis and current account deficit, we have to bring a paradigm shift in our policies and these should focus more on enhancing exports by providing an enabling environment to the businesses as well as increasing the remittances by offering more incentives to the Overseas Pakistanis. Certainly, we are opposed to the import of unnecessary items, especially the luxury items which serve only the elite class, but as the liquidity situation improves, all sorts of ban on import of necessary raw material needs to be lifted in order to revive the industrial units- the closure of which have rendered hundreds of thousands of people jobless and making it more difficult for the common man to face the current inflationary trend. In order to save valuable foreign exchange, we will also have to pursue the course where raw material including that for the auto and textile sector is produced indigenously. This, in fact, will increase the industrial base. Whilst friendly countries such as China, Saudi Arabia and UAE have always been forthcoming in extending assistance in difficult times, and they are doing the same now to help Pakistan secure the next IMF tranche, our leadership should focus on attracting investment from these countries by engaging more deeply with them. This is the only way through which we can come out of debt trap and address our longstanding woes.