The economy of Pakistan is not performing according to its potentials due to lack of vision and programme on the part of the individuals who matter. The recently released Economic Survey reveals one basic point — that is the government is not ready to accept the ground realities and is still using old methods to boost the economy most of which are incompatible with the fast changing world. The issuance of the economic survey and the federal as well as the provincial budgets come as a routine matter, containing an account of missed opportunities or plethora of wishful thinking that the unrealistic targets will be achieved till the year end. The situation is pathetic as the government is not ready to introduce structural reforms in the tax collection system or take concrete steps to encourage local or foreign investment in the country. A thrust is on the ambitious revenue collection targets without taking steps to spur economic activities.
The survey revealed that only industrial sector performed pretty well during the outgoing financial year along with services sector. The agriculture sector has recorded a negative growth, ruining all the economic gains of other sectors and cutting the growth target of 5.5 percent to 4.7 of the gross domestic product. It is good omen that the government has announced concessions for the agriculture sector in the federal budget, but the step should not affect the earning sectors which have shown good performance in bad circumstances. It should be noted that foreign financial agencies accept the growth potentials of Pakistan, but also warn against lack of vision and response to international requirements. The structural changes in the economy, financial procedures and tax collection are a must along with improving the law and order as well as ensuring incessant electricity supply to the industrial and agriculture sectors. Unfortunately, government has failed to fulfill most of its promises and one of which is to end the shortage of electricity.
The time has come for Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who is de facto deputy prime minister as well as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s chief of staff in economic affairs, to start work on a reform agenda. Due to its strategic geographical location, Pakistan should be made a hub of international trade and investment for which the government will have to announce tax concessions and establish industrial zones. Dar will have to break the old barriers to revolutionize the economy. Fortunately, all the economic sentiments are in Pakistan’s favour and there is a need to utilize all the resources for the economic well-being of the nation.