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KARACHI: Pakistan’s economy suffers from three fundamental problems according to Dr Miftah Ismail, former Federal Minister for Finance & Revenue. The former minister was speaking at an intellectual gathering titled: Pakistan’s Economic Future, hosted by Habib University and moderated by Dr Aqdas Afzal, Assistant Professor, Social Development and Policy.

Delving deeper into the fundamental issues of the Pakistan economy, he highlighted that first and foremost, as a nation, we don’t live within our means, secondly our focus is on import substitution and not export growth and lastly, there was this ‘elite bargain’ existent in the country, essentially meaning that 99% of the population continues to work for the privileged one percent.

During the talk which was held as part of Habib University efforts to promote intellectual discourse on a variety of issues of importance to the country, Dr Ismail alluded to the difficult decisions he had faced at the time of taking office. According to him, “there was no commercial lending, we couldn’t sell our bonds and we weren’t part of the IMF program.”

How this govt helped country avert sovereign default

He pointed out that the government’s efforts to secure financing from friendly nations also met with cold shoulders and deaf years, “When you are defaulting, no one helps you out.” Raising prices was the only way that the country could have been saved from default.

To a question regarding what Pakistan would be like in 2047, Dr Ismail was not too optimistic. He pointed out that in the last 75 years we had neglected to provide proper education to our youth, and built a society which was inherently intolerant. He cited the example of many educated minority members having left the country for the same reason.

He also pointed out that as a nation, everyone knew the problems but when it came to solving them, there was a tendency to delay them. He questioned how it was possible for people to talk about exporting Information Technology from Pakistan, “You are not developing institutes for IT, but want to export it, that’s not going to happen.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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Dabeer Razvi Oct 18, 2022 12:20pm
Our policy makers need to give serious thought to these issues.
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