M Fazal Elahi
Never ever has any international financial institution praised Pakistan’s endeavours on the economic front. In fact, they have always expressed their dissatisfaction over the dismal performance of the economy of Pakistan. It is, one could say with certainty, for the first time that an international financial institution of repute like the World Bank (WB), of which Pakistan has been and continues to be a significant beneficiary, has acknowledged Pakistan’s appreciable progress on the economic front. In a meeting with the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in Islamabad, a few days back, the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim did not mince his words and distinctly stated that Pakistan is poised to become the next fast-growing successful economy due to vital measures taken by the incumbent government of Pakistan, over the past few years.
While addressing a meeting on the country’s economic performance, he pointed out that the country has made significant strides to achieve micro economic stability and enhance its domestic revenues by introducing reforms in the tax system. Mr. Jim Yong Kim said that Pakistan had also undertaken a number of significant steps to improve the business climate in the country. The economy of Pakistan, he said, would see further growth with peace and stability and further improvement in the investment climate. He assured that the World Bank, being a partner, will support the government’s initiatives to bolster economic growth and provide assistance in the required areas. The World Bank President emphasized the need to bring vitality to the private sector as this will generate massive employment opportunities and pull impoverished people out of poverty. During the meeting he also underscored the need for more investments in vitally important social sectors like education and health.
Unambiguously, the incumbent government took the reins of the country in its hands when the progress of the economy was at its lowest ebb. In fact it was almost at the verge of defaulting. The credit of salvaging the economy of the country and giving it a turnaround should be given to the incumbent government. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), termed as a game changer not only for Pakistan but the entire region, is in the process of rapid materialisation. This project, when successfully implemented, would further build the confidence of the foreign investors and give significant boost to foreign investment in Pakistan. CPEC must not be politicized at any cost. This economically vibrant project must not be allowed to become a victim of undue and biased political wrangling. The Pakistani nation will have to keep a tab on this crucial issue and play its role effectively to ensure that this doesn’t happen.