AIRLINK 69.92 Increased By ▲ 4.72 (7.24%)
BOP 5.46 Decreased By ▼ -0.11 (-1.97%)
CNERGY 4.50 Decreased By ▼ -0.06 (-1.32%)
DFML 25.71 Increased By ▲ 1.19 (4.85%)
DGKC 69.85 Decreased By ▼ -0.11 (-0.16%)
FCCL 20.02 Decreased By ▼ -0.28 (-1.38%)
FFBL 30.69 Increased By ▲ 1.58 (5.43%)
FFL 9.75 Decreased By ▼ -0.08 (-0.81%)
GGL 10.12 Increased By ▲ 0.11 (1.1%)
HBL 114.90 Increased By ▲ 0.65 (0.57%)
HUBC 132.10 Increased By ▲ 3.00 (2.32%)
HUMNL 6.73 Increased By ▲ 0.02 (0.3%)
KEL 4.44 No Change ▼ 0.00 (0%)
KOSM 4.93 Increased By ▲ 0.04 (0.82%)
MLCF 36.45 Decreased By ▼ -0.55 (-1.49%)
OGDC 133.90 Increased By ▲ 1.60 (1.21%)
PAEL 22.50 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-0.18%)
PIAA 25.39 Decreased By ▼ -0.50 (-1.93%)
PIBTL 6.61 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.15%)
PPL 113.20 Increased By ▲ 0.35 (0.31%)
PRL 30.12 Increased By ▲ 0.71 (2.41%)
PTC 14.70 Decreased By ▼ -0.54 (-3.54%)
SEARL 57.55 Increased By ▲ 0.52 (0.91%)
SNGP 66.60 Increased By ▲ 0.15 (0.23%)
SSGC 10.99 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.09%)
TELE 8.77 Decreased By ▼ -0.03 (-0.34%)
TPLP 11.51 Decreased By ▼ -0.19 (-1.62%)
TRG 68.61 Decreased By ▼ -0.01 (-0.01%)
UNITY 23.47 Increased By ▲ 0.07 (0.3%)
WTL 1.34 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-2.9%)
BR100 7,399 Increased By 104.2 (1.43%)
BR30 24,136 Increased By 282 (1.18%)
KSE100 70,910 Increased By 619.8 (0.88%)
KSE30 23,377 Increased By 205.6 (0.89%)

EDITORIAL: Finally, somebody has noticed, and lamented, the fact that both public and private sectors get too many off-days each year – the five-day holiday for Eid being a classic example. Chairman, Salt Manufacturers Association of Pakistan (SMAP) Ismail Suttar rightly criticised the government’s notification about Eid-ul-Fitr holidays, pointing out that too many “idle days” were allowed, as though all stakeholders forgot the magnitude of the economic/financial crisis facing the country. He went on to say that “the government has taken another important decision without taking into account any suggestions from industrialists,” which goes to show all over again just how insulated decision-makers are from the people who are most affected by their decisions.

Eid is the most precious day of rejoicing for Muslims across the world, no doubt, but that does not mean that we can go about celebrating it by giving the whole country the week off when something as big and serious as sovereign default is hanging over its head. Some rich Gulf countries give their people a good week, sometimes even ten days, off for Eid. But that is only because their oil and tourism dominated economies can easily afford such breaks once or twice a year. This was not the case when some of them had not struck oil and depended on generous donations and help from other countries, ours included, to stay afloat. Since now the roles are more or less reversed, it is neither right nor fair to compare our affairs with theirs.

The main problem is the government, especially the federal machinery in Islamabad. The capital has had very few native dwellers since it was created some decades ago, and almost all politicians and bureaucrats that run the government from there belong to other places. Naturally, they are only too glad to get away from all the hassle for as long as possible, especially on religious occasions when everybody is in the mood to celebrate. But that leaves the economy in limbo while those responsible for it are resting and recreating. That is very bad news for an economy whose only chance for immediate term survival revolves around the hope that unconditional help from friendly countries will revive the stalled IMF (International Monetary Fund) bailout programme and give national reserves the strength to last another year or so.

Then there is the private sector, where workers want at least as many holidays as the public sector; and end up getting it. But since it is the former that is the backbone of the modern economy, and Pakistan’s economy has already had a spectacular crash for all intents and purposes, it defies logic that there are so many dozens of public and private sector holidays every year. Perhaps this trend is a broader reflection of what can and should be called the dominant national attitude; that is, wanting to get things done without putting in the appropriate work for them.

The IMF programme is a classic case in point. We want other countries to give us their money so the Fund can bail us out for the umpteenth time, just like we want to stay home and relax for as many days as possible each year even as the economy falls around us. That explains why the SMAP chairman pleaded for the private sector to be exempted from the government’s holiday notice, but to no avail.

One can only hope that the government will develop the good sense to plug these small holes that end up playing a big part in sinking the entire ship. But, from the looks of things, that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


Comments are closed.