ISSN 2330-717X

Is Pakistan On Verge Of Technical Default? – OpEd

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This morning I was alarmed to listen to three rumors: 1) banks are unable to buy foreign exchange for their clients from the inter-bank market, 2) whatever US dollars are still held by the central bank just can’t be used and 3) most probably the PML-N will do, what it did in nineties  freezing of foreign currency accounts of Pakistanis till the time forex starts flowing into Pakistan. 

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I had brief chat with some of the senior analysts and the conclusion was, “Pakistan is at the verge of technical default”. 

The overwhelming consensus was, “It is not because of any weakness of the economy of the country, but due to the inability of the decision makers to make prudent and timely decisions”. 

The consensus was, “If the casual attitude of the policy planners is not changed immediately, they will only hasten the default”.

The first and the worst habit of the incumbent government is that it spends more time on blaming the previous government, but does not take into accounts its own acts. 

It talks about austerity, but indulges in extravaganzas. 

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It even fails in listening to what the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and friendly countries (also willing to support Pakistan) are saying.

The coalition partners were too keen to control the reigns, but neither had the plans to take the country out of the crisis. 

Someone was indecent but may be right, “They wanted to take their names out of Exit Control List (ECL) as well get immunity to rule the country”. 

They neither have the will nor the spine to make difficult decisions. 

Raising POL prices and electricity tariffs are the easiest decisions because all their expenses are borne by the government.

Their thinking is still not synchronized with what the IMF is saying. 

They have not only failed in containing the twin deficits (budget deficit and current account deficit) which is also proliferating the third deficit – confidence deficit.

Shabbir H. Kazmi

Shabbir H. Kazmi is an economic analyst from Pakistan. He has been writing for local and foreign publications for about quarter of a century. He maintains the blog ‘Geo Politics in South Asia and MENA’. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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