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Saturday October 23, 2021

Reining in

September 28, 2021

This refers to the news report ‘SBP tightens consumer lending rules to limit auto loans’ (September 24). The move is a belated one. The question that first needs to be addressed is how the import of vehicles and other luxury items is being allowed when the country is facing serious foreign exchange crunch and borrowing the dollars to keep the economy afloat. There is no rocket science involved in controlling the import of non-essential foreign goods that are derailing our economy by promoting lavish consumption. Spending scarce resources on avoidable consumption is an inexcusable blunder and must be corrected.

These unbridled imports are contrary to the prime minister’s consistent focus on austerity and his government’s vision of a self-reliance and a vibrant economy. Owing to economic mismanagement, the authorities have been left with no option but to approach the IMF for the revival of the stalled $6 billion programme. The revival is going to bring in painful measures. The State Bank governor has already hinted towards this so that the nation gets prepared for difficult and hard days ahead. The prime minister must change his economic team, replacing it with reputed and experienced Pakistani economists of impeccable integrity, having no conflict of interest and able to provide home grown solution to the myriad of challenges facing the economy. The existing policies pose grave risk to the economy, particularly the vulnerability of the external account has been clearly exposed.

Erum A Baig

Karachi