The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry president has expressed his dismay over the interference of the International Monetary Fund in the country’s economic affairs. There is no denying the fact that the value of the Pakistani rupee has been falling unstopped and this only happened after tense negotiations between the government and the fund officials a few days ago. The government had, earlier, taken halfhearted steps to minimize trade deficit, and imposed regulatory duty on hundreds of goods to discourage imports. But the move simply failed to work as the deficit increased twice the volume of exports, leading to lowering of the foreign exchange reserves which were bolstered by taking loans after loans from international financial institutions. The financial affairs of the country are facing a crisis like situation, forcing the government to take immediate steps to salvage the economy. However, in a state of panic, it has opted to lower the value of the Pakistani rupee which further plunged the country into financial chaos. One fails to understand who the people are working as financial managers and are apparently oblivious of the basics of financial and economic matters. Despite several rejoinders and rejections by the government to allay the people’s fears that it would not seek another IMF program, the fact remains it would likely go to the agency for a bailout package.
According to the LCCI president, the industry is the main victim of the economic crisis and the recent blow of rupee devaluation has added insult to injury. Till the time the policymakers listen to the foreign dictation, economy would continue to suffer losses. The country would only make progress if dependence on foreign loans is minimized. Every country gets loans but for development projects, but the Pakistani policymakers have become habitual of getting loans for even debt servicing and now the burden of foreign liabilities has crossed $85 billion in the tenure of the current Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government.
The fact of the matter is that every successive government has added its share of anomalies to the country’s economy and the situation has gone from bad to worse. Business, trade and industry are the basic components of the economy, but all the three are in disarray. Pakistan’s economy heavily depends on agriculture sector, but it is also going in losses. The government should declare economic emergency in the country and take all the political parties into confidence to reach a solution.