Some solutions for economic issues

The government must do its utmost to avoid being placed on the black list by the Financial Action Task Force which has already put it on its grey list. A crackdown has already been laucnhed against extremist and militant groups suspected of terrorist links. These groups have been banned by previous governments as well. The state should curb them singlemindedly and whole heartedly.

The economic policies framed and pursued for a long time have been short-term and myopic. They have served only to help the power elite increase its control of the country’s resources. As a result, the poor have grown poorer and the rich richer. The welfare of the masses has long been neglected. In a recent report, the World Bank has proposed that Pakistan invest more and more in its people. Should appropriate policies be followed it has predicted, Pakistan will be a middle income country by 2047.

A very large segment of the population is living below the poverty line. The poor lack adequate shelter, health care facilities and access to safe drinking water. The economic growth rate last year was 5.8 per cent. This is less than India’s 8 per cent and Bangladesh’s 7.8 per cent. Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves stand at a poor $8 billion compared with Bangladesh’s $32 billion.

The economic policies framed and pursued for a long time have been short-term and myopic. They have served only to help the power elite increase its control of the country’s resources. As a result, the poor have grown poorer and the rich richer

Despite its great geostrategic location, Pakistan has been losing its share of global trade. Exports as a share of the GDP have declined from 16.48 per cent in 1997 to 8.24 per cent. According to the World Bank statistics, Pakistan’s share of the global trade has incresaed by a negligible 1.5 per cent per year since 2005.

Productivity of the industrial sector, including large-scale manufacturing, is very low. Pakistan has yet to open itself to international trade and investment. New industries, both small scale and large scale, should be established to create jobs. Pakistan has a large proportion of the population in the under-30 age group. The challnge is to train the youth and provide them productive jobs.

Pakistan must reorient its diplomacy and purusue a neutral foreign policy. Its proximity to Saudi Arabia should not come at he cost of its relations with Iran.

Turkmenistan’s Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov and Prime Minister Imran Khan have discussed an agreement this month to create a transport corridor, a fibre-optic corridor and a gas corridor from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan and possibly to India. This could allow China and Pakistan to work with Turkmenistan on a northern CPEC route to allow for flow of goods from China into Central Asia via Afghanistan and ultimately into Russia via Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

For too long nobody has thought about the masses. There is a pressing need to promote advanced research and education. The privileges of the political elite need to be abolished. The PTI has the potential to put Pakistan on the path to progress.

The writer is a freelancer. He can be contacted at ik8828903@gmail.com

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