Wednesday June 29, 2022

Economic confidence?

By Editorial Board
October 14, 2019

A survey conducted by global market research firm IPSOS has shown that public confidence remains low across the country over the economic downturn that has followed the PTI taking power. The National Confidence survey places Pakistan at the lowest of 28 countries surveyed, including India, China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Only two in 10 people in Pakistan are confident that the economy is heading in the right direction, while only one in 10 believes that they are able to afford the same living standard as a year ago. Out of those who believe that the economic situation is poor in the country, over half believe it is very bad. There is little doubt that the numbers are dire. This would suggest that most of the public has little confidence that their economic future is secure. What is even more worrying is that one in three of those surveyed knew someone who had lost a job in the last year, with almost 80 percent of those surveyed worried about their job security.

The numbers should be no surprise – but they are no doubt damaging. Government representatives have continued to insist that the economy is on the mend, but the same confidence is not shared on the ground – even though outward protests have been limited. While it would be fair to give the government time to fix the economy, this cannot be an experiment with no deadline. Already, it is clear that in a single year in power, the government has brought economic confidence in the country down to a crippling low. It would be safe to say that there has never been such little optimism about the future. This is certainly not what the message of the PTI was when it asked the public for votes, which explains why the downturn has been so severely felt. Promises made of billions in investment flowing into the country have been forgotten. Instead, ninety percent of the public feels they cannot make major purchases, nor save for their own future. It has become clear that the government will not backtrack on its policies – nor should it – but it must hope that it plan works. If not, the public despondence as revealed by the survey could turn into public unrest.