Silver Lining?

Author: Daily Times

Pakistan’s economy is all set to grow at a higher rate in FY24 than that projected by IMF (two per cent); Asian Development Bank (1.9 per cent and World Bank (1.8 per cent). However, its stakeholders seemed to have had their heart set on an unbelievable growth target of 3.50 per cent. Alas! Wishes seldom turn into horses.

Going by the recent findings, agriculture is proving itself to be be primary engine with an increasing list of bumper, double-digit crops. As a nation that heavily relies on agriculture for its survival, this recent surge should be celebrated.

A silver lining, at last. But before we kick out the boats and have an extravaganza, it would be better to read the complete story. A closer look may well reveal how this is not enough to sustain the economy in the long run. The illusion of vibrant agriculture is simply masking deeper issues that continue to plague the economy.

The reliance on agriculture as a primary driver of economic growth is unsustainable, especially in the face of climate change and fluctuating global commodity prices. Our latest knockout by the wheat import crisis holds enough lessons for the policymakers to acknowledge that a more diverse and resilient economy is needed to weather the storm ahead.

Just because the stock market believes we are at the end of the prolonged tunnel does not mean that someone would magically rise to the occasion and pay what we owe the world. Pakistan’s economy is drowning in debt, with no lifeline in sight.

The external debt has skyrocketed in recent years, reaching unsustainable levels that threaten to cripple future generations. Despite repeated warnings, the government has failed to take decisive action to address this looming crisis, instead opting for half-hearted measures and empty promises.

Even if Islamabad believes a green Pakistan can become the ultimate game-changer, simply producing more quantities of crops is not enough. There should be a comprehensive and sustainable plan in place to use our food basket as a stepping stone to manage debts and increase our revenue. Failing to do so would risk being shackled by debt for decades to come. *

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