Economists, business community welcome Imran Khan’s pledges for economy, good governance

ISLAMABAD: While the incoming government of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) is going to immediately face a dire economic situation, economists have welcomed the peaceful transition of the democratic system and PTI’s goal to improve things at the economic front.

“Apart from the positive intentions of Imran Khan, who is on course to become next Prime Minister, even the peaceful transition of the democratic system is a positive sign for the country. A better economic team, coordination among ministries, wise and quick decisions to deal with the immediate crisis could bring the country out of the grave position,” said SDPI’s Dr Viqar Ahmed, adding that bailing out the economy and controlling the devaluation of currency could be immediate challenges for the next government. Another challenge of the new government would be reducing imports which are burning over $1.5 billion per month, an unaffordable import bill for the economy.

“The new government will be in need of a bailout package from the IMF or China, besides, issuing Sukuk bonds to meet the huge current account deficits,” Dr Viqar said.

According to economists, the next government would face the major challenge of handling the balance of payments. As per the available data, the deficit of over $ 18 billion, 6 per cent of the GDP is the highest deficit recorded in more than a decade. In the last five years, the external debt has risen by $22 billion while there is an increase of only $4 billion in country’s reserves, and reserves are barely sufficient to cover two months of imports.

Another issue, which needs immediate attention, is Pakistan’s placement in the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). There is the pressing matter of getting Pakistan off the grey list. The FATF had to put it on the roster on account of suspicions that some militant groups are able to use its banking system.

Reacting to the speech by Imran Khan, a day after the general election, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Vice President Waheed Ahmed said “Undoubtedly the speech is one of the best , simple and realistic speeches I have ever heard in my life  and unlike usually being emotional, aggressive and  harsh to his political opponents, today he was a different person altogether being so humble, calm, serious and displaying a matured approach – most probably foreseeing and having thorough knowledge of the major challenges the country is engulfed in.”

“His balanced speech covered all important major aspects starting from the miseries of a poor man, unemployed youth, deplorable state of economy, current financial criers of the country, different rules for different social classes of people , the awful state of farmers not getting dividends of their extensive efforts , mistrust of people in the Govt. due to corrupt practices , declining exports , devaluation of PK currency, strained relations with neighbouring countries, poor governance and non –existence of a strong check and balance system, denial of speedy and fair justice to everyone,”  Waheed said adding that he was confident that PTI led by Imran Khan would certainly steer this country out of current crises.

In a statement issued here on Thursday the leadership of Businessmen Group (BMG) and Office Bearers of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) said the business and industrial community of KCCI was fairly optimistic about PTI’s victory and the same was conveyed to Imran Khan during his recent meeting with the KCCI leadership and office bearers on July 22, 2018, when a reception was hosted in a local hotel by KCCI in honor of PTI’s chairman just a couple of days before the election.

They hoped that Imran Khan would fulfill all his commitments made to the business community of KCCI, particularly his pledge towards improving the infrastructure of Karachi and resolving the issues being faced by the business and industrial community of this city which continues to contribute a mammoth share of more than 65 per cent revenue to the national exchequer despite all odds.

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Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]
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