Economic Independence

17

In Pakistan, there is a pattern that every administration comes up with a similar strategy to achieve economic growth: borrow foreign currency-denominated loans, build some large-scale infrastructure, get a minor growth spurt in the process, and wait until this growth spurt fades so the same process is repeated ad infinitum. The incumbent government also vowed to make the country economically independent and 2020 was designated as the year of economic stability by our premier. Although there had been few structural reforms undertaken by the incumbent government but due to the global pandemic deteriorating the global trade, and increasing trade deficits, the IMF bailout package has been availed by the incumbent regime amid its strong disliking. Building a strong and resilient economy warrants devising and following consistently a long-term policy which minimizes the influence of the IFIs in the country, and allow the government to initiate economic programs to eradicate poverty and create employment. Government has been on a strong footing to overcome the economic leakages caused by institutional decay, regulating the informal and shadow economy, and implementing an unavoidable tax collection mechanism, which has engendered our economy so far. We know that the rising inflation is the catch22 – furthering the class gap –, the indirect taxation is aggravating the situation. Similarly, the government has made some progress in expanding the tax base, curbing smuggling, and reducing losses of the state-owned enterprises. However, progress will not be achieved overnight. Development of a clear roadmap to be pursued in the future and implementation thereof remains a big question mark. Moreover, building a political consensus on a common road map and political will to pursue the improvement of the indicators identified in the aforementioned roadmap is crucial to ensure a consistent policy irrespective of the political dynamics. It is a high time for Pakistan to immediately pursue economic agenda irrespective of its benefits to be realized during the tenure of the current government or successive governments.

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