A scary summer ahead – this week in Pakistan’s business and economics twittervers

The PTI has upped the ante once again and mounting pressure on the existing government. With huge increases in oil prices the overall economy is slumping as the business community braces for the worse. The evolving situation in the economic and political landscape is scary to say the least. 

With the new budget right around the corner, fund allocations to different government intuitions is again up for debate. Regardless of how this happens and what factors are considered, one thing is for certain that if we continue to progress the way we’re doing there will be no change. 

The issue of OMC’s importing fuel from China to avoid paying the regulated 10% customs duty was first highlighted by Profit’s very own @ Ariba . This prompted the government to take decisive action ensuring fair trade as well as recover additional revenues north of Rs 25 billion. 

As fuel prices increase the country is heading towards troubled waters. Although it was a necessary step, that does not make it any less painful for the masses and business alike. Fuel prices have a direct price impact on almost everything we consume, and therefore an increase in prices will have a domino effect on all the other goods and services. Faisal Aftab

A staggering economy and an equally struggling political situation are leading us into very unprecedented times. The society is being pulled and stretched at the very seams by extremely antagonistic politics and quite plainly creating a very dangerous rhetoric all around. As for how much power the ISI would have, it is a question only time will tell.  

With supply side taps being kept on a tight leash, it would be safe to expect higher future oil prices due to shortfalls in production. 

The economy is struggling, the first ones to feel the pinch is the world of start-ups. Mass layoffs at multiple companies is alarming but not unwarranted. Higher costs with an anticipated lower demand companies are shifting to survival mode, cutting costs and trying to stay afloat.

The situation is extremely fragile and Imran Khan seems to be adding fuel to the flames. Personally I think he wants to provoke the government and other quarters of power in Pakistan to react which can potentially be construed into a victory one way or another. Be careful of what you say Mr. Khan, a country of 220 million people is watching you. 

The spats and uncertainty in the political landscape although might not be in the best interest of the nation or the economy, it is however giving the whole nation a chance to introspect. Most of the time political debates more or less spiral into arguments, nonetheless a healthy debate with an open mind can go a long way in educating people. Why not look at it glass half full for a change? 

Politicising critical matters of economy and foreign policy needs to end. Umar Saif rightly points out each successive government a financial mess for the next, this again restarts the cycle of blame games and tragic public statements. 

Everyone was surprised! Taxes are primarily used to curb demand by increasing the prices. The PTI government on the one hand in its manifesto wanted more renewables in the overall energy mix while at the same time imposed a 17% GST on solar panels. The “take or pay” conditions of the agreement with IPP’s is another thorn that makes the situation worse. 

The glove just doesn’t fit ? 

Just might be too little too late, people who call themselves leaders should charge and exemplify the change they want to see. 

Asad Ullah Kamran
The author is a staff member and can be reached at [email protected]

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