Price of instabilityPrice of instability

IN an interview to Bloomberg, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Monday that the ouster of Nawaz Sharif from premiership had affected the business environment in the country. His statement comes after similar remarks by Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, who also headed the Ministry of Planning and Development during Nawaz period, that the country suffered economic losses following the Supreme Court verdict disqualifying the former prime minister in Panama Papers case. What Abbasi and Ahsan Iqbal have complained is shared by many financial experts as country’s developmental process, economic direction and financial gains received setback due to Nawaz ouster and resultant political instability. PML (N) government worked hard for four years and people of Pakistan faced great hardships due to bitter economic decisions by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar just for the sake of long-term economic gains but the process seems to have received serious obstacle. Apart from shattering confidence of investors, who were previously keen to invest not only in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project but also in other fields and sectors, but the pace of implementation of developmental projects has also slowed down. The situation prompted the Bloomberg to maintain that “His (PM Abbasi) economic task has cut out. Twin deficits are depleting the nation’s foreign exchange reserves and constraining credit ratings, stoking speculation that he will opt for devaluing the rupee to spur inflows.” It is, however, satisfying that the Prime Minister is not only aware of the ground realities but also has a realistic plan to address the situation. He told the interviewer that he has no plan to devalue Pak rupee as such measures have not benefited in the past and instead intends to restrict imports to save precious foreign exchange. We have been pleading in these columns since long that free for all imports are eating up our hard earned foreign exchange reserves but the authorities concerned have been taking shelter behind the false excuse that the imports surged due to import of plant and machinery whereas markets that are flooded with foreign goods belied this theory. Boosting local production to meet domestic needs and increase exports would also be the right option to pursue.

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