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We all have heard the story of The Pied Piper of Hamelin in our childhood. Well it’s still relevant today in terms of the political and economic aspect of the country.

The news of the economy being on the verge of collapse, political crises, soaring inflation, alarming low levels of foreign exchange reserves and rupee devaluating to a new low every other day are dominating the headlines on regular basis, so much so that strangely it doesn’t sound like a news anymore. However, under the heavy baggage of these irregularities, let’s try to find out the main culprits who have taken the entire economy into the state of hypnosis and have completely paralyzed our thinking power to even realize what is going wrong.

We are a part of an economy which is run by politicians who make us live under the delusions that they have a magic wand that will transform the system over night and make our biggest challenges vanish just in a blink of an eye only if they are given a chance to rule the economy one more time. However, there is a reality check here—there is nothing wrong with the fundamentals of the systems that they call flawed and promise to change.

The poisonous politics in Pakistan is the main reason why the country remains in the tight grip of acute challenges. The successor blames the predecessor for the current financial crises and lays down an austerity plan that includes entirely new expenditures.

Unfortunately, dumping the already made capital expenditures and making the new expenditures is what they call “austerity measures” and we call “sheer ignorance”. Like sugar gives one an instant relief to anxiety but causes diabetes, most of the schemes launched only give hopes and rarely act in public interest.

It is to be noted that a lot of projects are fed on liquid cash and nothing surfaces out of the spending. No wonder our development expenditures are one of the heaviest burdens the budget bears since Pakistan, being a rising inflationary economy, witnesses a multifold surge in expenditure bills and ironically, price impact on expenditure is completely disregarded.

Moreover, over-invoicing of the expenditures incurred is a customary act performed by the power holders to fill up their own pockets. It’s not uncommon that we see many multi-million and multi-billion projects are left ignored just because they were run by the party not in a ruling state anymore, wasting the most scarce resources of the country and yet the ruling bodies do not feel the slightest hint of pain that indicates their clear motive: saving the thrones and definitely not catalyzing the economy.

Another reality check we need here is that the economy is being sustained by revaluation. We are merely surviving on the oxygen of capital revaluation goodwill which is only a technique of window dressing adopted by the controllers as in reality we are gaining nothing.

The systems we have aren’t vague; rather, they are victimized by power thirst and corruption. Also, we can barely spot the right skills in our systems. We are not deficient of the skill, it’s just the system has become a product of nepotism and is juggling among the hands of the few power greedy.

The need is neither to change nor to build the new systems; but to change the direction to run the system. It’s about time we woke up from the slumber and realized that blindly chanting the political slogans won’t do any good but an awakening to how we have become the rats to the Piper’s melodious music will.

Crucial to the crises we are facing right now is understanding that we need our systems to be run by the ones who know the ills and possess the right expertise to cure the ills. In other words, the system is needed to be controlled by the technocrats and skill should be the merit.

Digital transformation has led to the emergence of data-driven economy. It’s 2023, and despite being a part of modern world, we fail to enjoy the perks of modern techniques of data analysis since we do not have right mechanisms. Running economy on actual figures will provide us the real insights not the speeches that echo in political rallies.

Moreover, it will help in controlling the depletion of capital and will be a source of discouragement to corruption instances that is leading to the hollowness of the resource base. We have the right institutions, Ministry of Finance and its regulatory wings to name a few; we just need to bring them to a stage where they provide a sturdy support to the economy.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

Waqas Ahmad

Waqas Ahmad is a Fellow Member of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan and have vast experience in strategic management and planning in the financial sector.

Mariam Afzal

The writer is a development economist, Islamabad. She is currently working in a leading government-owned Agricultural Development Bank of Pakistan

Comments

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Taimur tareen Mar 22, 2023 07:00am
What he is saying is right. However it is quite well known to every one. The real issue is how to do the needful in the prevalent setting of corrupt politicians and illegal interference by the very high command holders, lack of judiciary to decide cases fairly and boldly.
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John Mar 22, 2023 10:29am
Masses will not tolerate any more injustices rendered by corrupt elite for past 75 years!
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Sumroo Mar 22, 2023 12:07pm
@John, Waderas and corrupt ruling elite should act up or be ready for a genera1 BBQ party soon.
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KU Mar 23, 2023 12:12pm
We need to move on from the many shades of our politics to raising a question of qualification and merit. The new world economic order is chased by climate changes and is affecting everyone, in these uncertain times our Jurassic political system and the country cannot afford people who are not only corrupt but a very clear danger to our survival. The future of the country must ask, are the leaders qualified to lead a country out of the economic mess and assure a prosperous future?
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Muhammad Ali Mar 24, 2023 09:46am
Actually the author is promoting idea to bring Technocrats under shadow of hidden hands who have been ruling behind the scene since independence. That's not working now. True democracy can't be brought in Pakistan except imposing criminal laws as are in Singapore, China & Iran. There is no short cut except recovery & retrieving of all plundered wealth & death sentences to all who accumulated wealth by plunder.
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