Tuesday September 21, 2021

Seattle, USA Economics sovereignty

August 03, 2021

This refers to the news report ‘Rising import pressures: Balance of payment position worsening’ (July 31). Until November 2020, the country’s current account was recording surplus owing to tight controls on imports. From December 2020, right after the reopening of the economy, the controls were loosened, and the entry of all sorts of luxury and unnecessary items was allowed. These luxurious items are inflating the import bill and reducing our scarce dollar reserves. Despite the vulnerability of the external account, economists seem to be in no mood to stop the import of non-essentials items that is putting a burden on the Pakistani rupee. In recent weeks, the rupee has depreciated from Rs152 to Rs162 per dollar. The government is resorting to expensive commercial borrowings to support the country’s foreign exchange reserves. Debt management has become unmanageable, and nearly 50 percent of export earnings are going into debt repayments. The incumbent government’s economic team is following the same policies that were followed by the previous two governments. Pakistan remains an import-dependent trading nation surviving on the crutches of international financial institutions.

It is time that the prime minister intervened and reversed the policies that are damaging the economy. A team of renowned independent economists of the country should be given the responsibility to come up with well-thought-out policies to steer the economy out of the deep financial mess. The country’s economic and political sovereignty is at stake.

Erum A Baig