Finance Minister Asad Umer has admitted that the rise in inflation can be attributed to the steps that the government is taking to stablise the economy. There is resentment not just from the masses, who have had to face price hikes after price hikes which are making affordable living very difficult, but also from the opposition parties who are accusing the government of short-sightedness as the prices are making routine matter very difficult for the average consumer in Pakistan. There is no denying that several international developments are also affecting the price points in Pakistan, as pointed out by the Finance Minister.

These include the global rise in the price of oil which is affecting the price of petroleum products in Pakistan. He also pointed out the slow pace of inflation as opposed to 2008 and 2013, along with rejecting Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority’s (OGRA) demand to increase oil prices up to Rs11.92 per litre. Similarly, the fluctuation in the price of the dollar will also impact the economy and prices of products. These are aspects that the government has no control over and has to comply with, but the staunch opposition from several stakeholders also holds some ground. Despite the government’s efforts to decrease imports and facilitate the business community, there is an air of mistrust and local investment has not witnessed a surge.

The plan to introduce another amnesty scheme is on the cards as well but despite this plan to expand the tax base, if the revenue collection methods and the revenue collection bureau is not reformed, there is very less chance that the system will modernise. Along with the banking system, the government should ensure that those responsible for matters of revenue in the state are not indulging in corrupt practice because no matter how rigorous the legislation is, the practice of safeguarding key stakeholders allows the space for manipulation and scapegoats. However, if the idea of Electronic Money Institutions (EMIs) is mainstreamed, there is a fair chance that the cash flow will be digitalised and that will help maintain a record. EMIs are non-bank entities that will be licensed by the SBP to issue e-money for the purpose of digital payments.

Minister Asad Umer also highlighted that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission would visit Pakistan within this month. If a loan package is finalised, it can create a positive impact on dealing with other multilateral sources.