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Pakistan has entered a pivotal phase of governance following its recent general elections, as a new government takes charge. However, this transition brings along a set of formidable economic challenges that demand immediate attention to ensure progress and stability such as, restoring investor confidence and effectively managing inflation.

Additionally, the significance of formulating a well-balanced budget, managing debt, restructuring state-owned entities (SOEs), and revamping the energy sector cannot be overstated. By approaching these challenges strategically and with determination, Pakistan can lay the groundwork for sustained economic stability and pave the way for a prosperous future.

First and foremost, Pakistan’s new government faces pressing tasks of restoring investor confidence and managing inflation as top priorities. To accomplish these objectives, the government must prioritize the prompt approval and implementation of a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Such a deal would serve as a tangible demonstration of the government’s commitment to economic reform and fiscal responsibility.

Secondly, implementing prudent monetary policies is critical to addressing inflationary pressures. This includes controlling government spending and enacting structural reforms that enhance the business environment. By encouraging investment in productive sectors, the upcoming government can help stabilize prices, improve the purchasing power of the population, and create favorable economic conditions for all. These measures are vital for fostering sustainable economic growth and ensuring the well-being of the country’s citizens.

In addition to that, the new government is confronted with a substantial challenge that involves the formulation of a well-balanced budget for the upcoming fiscal year. This task necessitates meticulous deliberation on various fronts, including the expansion of the tax base, examination of fiscal expenditures, and the fulfillment of reform requirements set forth by the IMF (International Monetary Fund).

To establish and maintain fiscal discipline, it is imperative for the government to accord priority to the reduction of expenditures, particularly in ministries that exhibit duplicative functions, while also implementing reforms pertaining to pensions to ensure long-term sustainability. By undertaking these measures, the government can effectively navigate the complexities of budgetary management and work towards achieving a more stable and prosperous economic outlook.

Furthermore, it is crucial to make endeavors towards bolstering tax collection and combating tax evasion, with the aim of fostering a fairer and more equitable tax system. This can be achieved through the utilization of technological advancements to streamline tax administration processes, enhance efficiency, and reduce opportunities for tax evasion.

Additionally, increasing taxpayer awareness through educational campaigns and providing accessible resources can play a significant role in promoting compliance and ensuring that the tax burden is distributed equitably among individuals and businesses. By implementing these measures, the government can create a more robust and effective tax collection system that supports economic growth and social welfare.

Managing Pakistan’s debt burden and securing a new IMF programme are vital for long-term economic stability. The incoming government needs to develop a comprehensive debt management strategy, including renegotiating existing debt terms, diversifying sources of financing, and improving debt transparency and management practices.

Furthermore, it is essential to prioritize the restructuring of state-owned entities (SOEs) to enhance their efficiency and financial well-being. This can be achieved by appointing independent boards and fostering competitive management teams, separating SOEs’ debt from the government’s liabilities, and considering public-private partnerships to optimize their performance and pave the way for potential privatization. Streamlining SOEs, mitigating political interference, and enhancing governance and accountability mechanisms are also vital measures to be taken.

Furthermore, it is imperative to undertake a comprehensive transformation of the energy sector to decrease expenses and guarantee a dependable energy supply. The new administration should prioritize shifting towards a multi-buyer market, making investments in alternative energy sources, and restructuring the transmission and distribution sector.

Encouraging the adoption of renewable energy, enhancing the efficiency of power generation and distribution, and attracting private sector investments in the energy sector are all crucial elements of this overhaul.

In addition to addressing immediate economic challenges, the new government must build upon the initiatives and policies implemented by the previous administration through the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC).

The SIFC has been playing a pivotal role in fostering Pakistan’s economic prosperity, attracting investments, including foreign direct investment, particularly during a period of economic struggle. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for the new administration to prioritize and continue these policies. By capitalizing on the achievements of the SIFC, the new administration can stimulate economic growth, bolster investor confidence, and ensure the sustained implementation of reforms crucial for long-term stability. It is vital for the upcoming administration to carry forward the mission of this Civil-Military hybrid forum, which has proven to be beneficial in navigating the country’s economic challenges effectively.

All in all, the new government in Pakistan must adopt a comprehensive and strategic approach to tackle the country’s economic challenges. By prioritizing the restoration of investor confidence, implementing sound fiscal management practices, restructuring state-owned entities, overhauling the energy sector, and building upon the initiatives introduced by the SIFC, Pakistan can lay the foundation for long-term economic stability.

Achieving these goals will require strong political will, competent economic management, and the development of institutional capacity. With careful planning and diligent execution, Pakistan can overcome its economic hurdles and set itself on a trajectory towards a prosperous future.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

Aiman Khattak

The writer is a graduate of Peace and Conflict Studies and a free-lance columnist. She can be reached [email protected]

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KU Feb 21, 2024 05:41pm
SOEs are our Achilles heel, they exist to feed the lifestyles of Raj, and best paid job that is a politician.
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