“The pension expenditure, salaries of government officials, subsidies and grants are all to be paid through borrowed money.” said the ex-finance minister Dr. Hafiz Pasha while sharing his calculations about the upcoming budget.
And this is what it has come to. If public finances were bad before, they have gotten worse. Hope erodes everyday, as the government fails to acknowledge the falling economic indicators of the country and masses try to keep themselves busy with the cat and mouse game of politics.
History has shown that the intricacy of political systems, the rise and fall of leaders, and the crafted strategies, fade into insignificance against the backdrop of economic turmoil. No ideology or nationalism trumps the need to feed your children, yet we, the people, remain rather numb to what our economic lives have become and what they are about to become.
Years of negligence, bad habits, lapses of judgment and hit and trial brings Pakistan, once again, on the brink of a default. But is Pakistan willing to change? The question is about to be answered once and for all in the annual budget statement of the upcoming federal budget. Although things are not looking up for the said willingness, on the political front.
But what is it that has brought us to this point? and how can we get out of it through a budget? A difficult conversation, albeit not an impossible one, is long overdue about Pakistan’s fiscal account.