Charter of economy

August 14, 2022

In 2018, Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, the-then Leader of the Opposition, proposed an ingenious idea-: a 'Charter of Economy’. In June 2022, PM Shehbaz Sharif, in a pre-budget business...

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In 2018, Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, the-then Leader of the Opposition, proposed an ingenious idea-: a 'Charter of Economy’. In June 2022, PM Shehbaz Sharif, in a pre-budget business conference, reiterated his call for a ‘Charter of Economy’, urging “all stakeholders concerned to join hands in formulating an unalterable policy framework to make the country achieve agro-based and export-oriented growth”.

In June 2022, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded its outlook on Pakistan to negative from stable. Moody’s cited “political turmoil” and “heightened political risk” as reasons behind the downgrading.

In July 2022, Fitch Ratings, one of the big-three credit rating agencies, revised Pakistan’s outlook to negative. Fitch cites “political climate”, “renewed political volatility”, “political stability”, “socio-political pressures” and “political stability” as the reasons behind the downgrading.

In July 2022, S&P, another rating agency, downgraded outlook on Pakistan’s long-term ratings to negative. S&P cited “political stability” and “political risk” as the reasons behind the downgrading.

Between 1960 and 2022, Italy has had 36 prime ministers. Over the same period Pakistan had 16. In Italy, per capita income has gone up from $804 in 1960 to $36,000, an increase of 45 times. In Pakistan, per capita income has gone up from $83 to $1,500; an increase of 18 times. Between 1960 and 2022, Japan has had 29 prime ministers. Lesson from Japan and Italy: political instability should not be allowed to derail economic growth.

The World Bank tells us that “Pakistan can become a $2 trillion dollar economy”. The World Bank tells us that Pakistan can become an “upper middle-income country where per capita income will be $5,702”. The World Bank also tells us that “Given Pakistan’s observable characteristics in terms of economic size, level of development, remoteness, and factor endowments it is estimated that Pakistan’s potential annual exports are at $88.1 billion….”

We have the talent and the resources. All we need to do is to contain ‘political risks’. All we need to do is to create two separate spheres -- a ‘political sphere’ and an ‘economic sphere’. The ‘economic sphere’ being the “domain about which economics is meant to provide us with knowledge”. The ‘political sphere’ being the “domain in which economics is meant to be an influential factor”.

For the record, the original proposer of a ‘Charter of Economy’ is now our prime minister. We have a prime minister under whose counsel we have managed to avoid a potentially disastrous default. We now have a prime minister who has also demonstrated his willingness to sacrifice his political interests for national good. We have a prime minister who has been urging for the past four years for “all stakeholders to collaborate on formulating a framework for achieving economic growth”.

Remember, good leaders try hard to come up with solutions. Bad leaders just blame others. Good leaders try to unite people. Bad leaders try hard to divide people. Good leaders spread affection. Bad leaders go out of their way to spread hate. Good leaders seek harmony. Bad leaders seek conflict. Good leaders seek harmony. Bad leaders seek discord. Good leaders are modest. Bad leaders are arrogant.

The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. He tweets saleemfarrukh and can be reached at: farrukh15hotmail.com



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