Economic state after massive flooding | By Dr Muhammad Khan

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Economic state after massive flooding 

THE massive flooding in Pakistan has caused unprecedented losses to the lives, properties and infrastructure in the country.

Until now there have been over 1060 deaths in various parts of the country with destruction of thousands of houses, business centres and standing crops of worth billions of rupees.

Dozens of water dams and water storages have been damaged due to flash flooding with thousands of kilometres of roads; bridges and other infrastructure have been damaged completely.

Exact estimates of these losses would take time, once situation normalizes and there is a return of life in the flood affected areas.

In any case, the losses due to summer flooding in the country would not be less than $8-10 billions.

It is a great set back to the economy of Pakistan which is already in a state of flux. The people of flood affected areas need immediate economic assistance in the form of shelters, food items, clothing, medicines and subsequently rehabilitation.

There is a need that nation as whole should stand-up along with various departments of government including provincial governments to help the flood affected people at this crises time of Pakistan.

Owing to the bad economic management, Pakistan is already at verge of economic collapse.

Evaluating the economic indicators of Pakistan, the country is ranked 34th among 39 countries in the Asia–Pacific region.

In a way the economic crises of Pakistan are getting worst and worst with each passing day.

And now after summer flood-2022, the economic situation has deteriorated. Unfortunately, despite heavy taxes and exceptionally high levies on all goods and utilities in Pakistan, there are downward trends in the economy of Pakistan.

Despite being an agrarian economy, the essential food items are rapidly getting out of the reach for over 70% Pakistani masses.

Inflation is record high and developmental sector is found wanting in all areas of socio-economic development of the state.

Budget of all developmental sectors of Pakistan has been reduced to minimum whereas non-developmental expenditures are increasing with each passing day.

Indeed, not the resources but the poor economic management is considered to the real cause of deteriorating economy of Pakistan and downwards trends in the living standards of 122 million Pakistanis.

In fact, the basic responsibility of the government of Pakistan is to identify and prioritize the problems facing the state and society of Pakistan.

Identifying the problem areas at an early time-frame and focusing to resolve them by all possible means and through better economic management could have save the state of Pakistan from on-going economic crises.

But, neither the problems identified nor any serious efforts were made to overcome the economic crisis, hurting the state and society alike.

Resultantly, once confronted by financial challenges, they resorted to rush to IMF for a possible rescue.

The IMF has imposed its own pre-conditions for revision and extension of loan to Pakistan which includesimpositions of heavy taxes and levies over the poor masses while there is no cut on the luxuries of the parliamentarians, governmental officials and bureaucracy of the country.

The incumbent and previous government of Imran Khan could neither reform the national economy nor did provide relief to masses.

The government and its economic managers responsible to manage state’s economy could neither appreciate the looming financial crises nor took timely measures to avoid the financial meltdown of Pakistan.

Resultantly the country is heading for an economic disaster which means a lot for the nuclear state like Pakistan.

While the national economy of Pakistan is sliding downwards, there has been unprecedented mushroom growth of the various cartels in Pakistan.

These cartels are controlling the prices and supply of all-most all critical food items and petroleum with or without consent of the government.

Indeed, government has become hostage to these internal and external cartels. In most of the cases these cartels are part of the government with sitting ministers, MPs and advisors.

This was a case with PTI Government and there is no change after coalition government came in power under Shahbaz Sharif.

Currently, the economic management of the state is being run through heavy and agonizing taxation system on poor masses which cannot be sustained on long-term.

In fact, the economic management of nuclear Pakistan with rivalries all around and multiple fault lines within cannot be run like a corporate company nor can it be left at the mercy of inept and non-serious economic managers whose inclination is more to spend on their luxuries than profiting Pakistan.

Why to send huge delegations for representing the country which can be done by 2-3 individuals (delegation under Speaker of National Assembly to Canada is a case in point).

Under a crises situation where flash flood has caused massive human and economic losses let’s focus on: a)relief and rehabilitation of the masses without any discrimination; b) reconnect various parts of the country through infrastructural development; and c) devise strategies to stop future flooding through construction of dams and water storages in designated areas.

Alongside these measures, Government must initiate steps for the economic management of Pakistan through serious, innovative and revolutionary steps where foreign economic dependence is reduced to minimum.

The non-developmental expenditures must be reduced substantially while imposing a ban over the luxuries of government officials, elite class and bureaucracy.

Since political crises and revengeful acts are adding fuel to the existing economic crises, therefore, must be ended forthwith.

Furthermore, political leadership must sit together and take decisions in the national interests of Pakistan rather fighting over their petty political and personal gains.

— The writer is Professor of Politics and IR at International Islamic University, Islamabad.

 

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