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Economic framework

FINANCE Minister Asad Umar, on Monday, unveiled Medium-Term Economic Framework (MTEF) titled ‘Roadmap to Stability, Growth and Productive Employment’ showcasing the government’s strategy to deal with three structural imbalances of revenue-expenditure gap, import-export gap and saving-investment gap and putting the economy on the path to sustainable growth and job creation.
The policy framework has been developed based on input from the Prime Minister Economic Advisory Council (EAC) and development partners including World Bank and Asian Development Bank. The objectives mentioned and the recommendations given can surely help bring about a positive change in the otherwise dismal economic scenario but much depends on implementation. In the past as well, successive governments announced short, medium and long term programmes and visions but they could not give them practical shape due to various reasons including political instability and pressure from the vested interests. The incumbent government too is there for eight months and the measures so far taken by it have not produced the desired impact and the country is still being run on loans. The authorities concerned are also talking on an almost daily basis about their determination and plans to increase the revenue collection meaningfully. Addressing a public meeting in Charsadda in July 2018, PTI Chairman had pledged to collect Rs. 8 trillion in just two months after forming the federal government but there is no visible movement towards that end in eight months. Similarly, the Government has not been able to enhance exports despite massive devaluation, which is strangely being defended by the Finance Minister, who himself had been criticizing the previous government on this account. Instead of attacking critics of devaluation, the Minister should better inform the people about benefits that the country has reaped due to fall in the value of rupee except record price hike. His contention that previous governments artificially maintained the exchange rate or the rupee was over-valued is not supported by history as all economic indicators were moving in the positive direction then and this fact was repeatedly acknowledged by international donors as well. There is need to expand and diversify industrial and agricultural production, revolutionize export strategy, expedite work on CPEC projects and eliminate tax evasion.