Mitigating Pakistan’s Economic Crisis – OpEd
By Sarah Saeed
Currently, Pakistan is among a number of countries that are facing economic crisis. Several reasons are adding to Pakistan’s economic recession, including political turmoil, rupee depreciation, high inflation, energy shortages and natural catastrophes caused by climate change. Blind affiliations and coalitions of political entities and parties have rendered Pakistan’s political system a breeding ground for corruption that continues unabated. Minor issues within administrative domain, which have been ongoing for many years, have risen to extreme levels as a result of the recent political turmoil.
A less robust political structure means collapse of institutions in all sectors and widespread discontent among the populace. Recently, the fragility of political administration was witnessed during 2022 floods that caused massive damage to the country’s economy which is still in the process of rehabilitation. According to the World Bank report “Pakistan: Flood Damages and Economic Losses over USD 30 billion and Reconstruction Needs Over USD 16 billion – New Assessment,” Pakistan’s estimated total cost of damages exceeds $14.7 billion, with total economic losses reaching $15.2 billion. A total of $16.3 billion is expected to be required for Pakistan’s revival.
To become a stable economy, Pakistan’s political elite have no choice but to completely restructure and cleanse its political system. Citizens must also determine the essence of their country. Pakistan must now decide whether it’s time to restructure its methods for perceiving and responding to the upcoming challenges. In recent years, Pakistan has struggled with major security problems, such as militancy and regional armed conflicts. The nation has made significant success in tackling these risks, with the law enforcement agencies and military playing a dominant part in ensuring the country’s security. The overseas community has traditionally helped the nation in times of need through contributions and foreign direct investment.
As a short term strategy, Pakistan can boost its economic growth with the help of ‘Blue Economy’ which is an emerging and globally recognized concept. Blue economy is referred as the ‘use of oceans and coast lines to increase the economic growth of the country’. Pakistan’s maritime regions are abundant in aquatic resources such as shrimp, lobster, fish, crab, seafood that can be wisely utilized for economic development and employment creation. Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometer-long coastline that has enormous promise for blue economy growth.
Pakistan’s fisheries industry is a major contributor to the country’s income, employing millions of people. The industry can be expanded further by introducing contemporary fishing methods, improving seafood quality, and supporting export-oriented fisheries. Warm waters and the ideal climate in the nation make it perfect for mariculture, that may broaden the scope of economy and decrease strain on wild fish populations. Pakistan’s coastal areas having rich mineral resources such as oil and gas can be used to increase the country’s energy requirements and economic growth.
Another option to boost national economy is by boosting defence exports. Pakistan’s defence industrial complex is making significant contribution to the economy and has the potential to mitigate the economic crisis of the country. According to Ministry of Defence Production, Pakistan’s defence export have accomplished nearly PKR 60 billion of an unprecedented boost along with inshore sales of PKR 70 billion which is again a great achievement. In 2019, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) Kamra has secured export of JF-17 TO Nigeria for USD 184 Million and for future, have signed export contract with Iraq worth of USD 33.33 million.
Responsibility lies on each citizen of Pakistan to lead the country forward with a shared dedication to integrity, dedication, creativity and economic advancement, which occurs through initiatives in the education, private, and non-profit sectors that draw on all resources to establish and get better. As the country struggles to emerge successfully from an ongoing economic crisis each individual can aid to the process by being responsible consumers and shift to a need-based lifestyle while supporting local businesses to boost homemade produce. Awareness with regards to blind affiliations to individuals and political parties is need of the hour. Youth of the country must be engaged in governmental processes to add the element of responsibility for their tenure in the government bodies to efficiently root out corruption. We as a nation must acknowledge the fact that, the only permanent change will come from within the country.
Sarah Saeed is currently working with Islamabad based think tank. Her area of interest is South Asian strategic and security issues.