Dar’s optimism

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REGARDLESS of all the speculations being made by different economic experts that Pakistan may go bankrupt, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is upbeat to beat the odds.

In an interview with a private television channel on Friday, the Finance Minister appeared to be very optimistic when stated that he is not concerned whether or not the IMF’s team arrives for the 9th review of Pakistan’s seven billion dollars Extended Fund Facility, saying he had to look at the country’s interest first.

The very statement reflects that some friendly countries have given assurances to Pakistan to help it steer out of these difficult times.

Most recently, Pakistan has received $ 500 million from Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

We understand that Saudi Arabia has also rolled over a three billion dollars loan while State Bank of Pakistan on Friday made payment of one billion dollars bond.

These developments in fact have given some breathing space and this is why Ishaq Dar appears to be confident in better handling the situation.

We have repeatedly been stating in the columns that the dictations of any sort should not be taken from any international financial lender and that the public interests should be kept supreme but there are also no two opinions that we have to take difficult decisions to take the country in the right direction.

During engagement with the IMF, it must be informed to the lender that its tough conditions cannot be fully implemented at present given the current price hike as well as the economic problems of the people compounded by the devastating floods.

We in fact should present a reconstruction and rehabilitation plan before the IMF to secure additional funding.

The successful 9th review and additional funding from the IMF will also encourage other lenders to provide funds to Pakistan.

We have no doubt in the capabilities of Dar to complete the IMF program but getting loans to pay the previous ones is not the right approach and not sustainable.

There is a dire need to address the longstanding issues of Pakistan through short, medium and long term policies.

Without phenomenal growth in our exports, we cannot break the begging bowl. This dream has been cherished by the nation for a very long time now.

This is only possible through uplifting our productive sectors through necessary policy interventions and provision of maximum facilitation to the investors.