It is anticipated that the Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar, will not attend the annual meetings of International Monitory Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB). The government fears that his participation may bring a bad name to the country due to corruption charges pending against him. It is not the first time that Dar has skipped the yearly meetings of the said organizations due to political troubles. Last year, too, he did not attend the annual meetings because of Panama controversy.

In his stead it is rumoured that Finance Secretary Shahid Mahmood would lead the Pakistani delegation. Other sources claim that Governor State Bank of Pakistan will represent the country. A similar confusion prevails over other responsibilities of the Finance Ministry – some claim that Advisor to Prime Minister on Economic Affairs Miftah Ismail is looking after affairs in Ishaq Dar’s absence, while other sources suggest other names still.

This diffusion of responsibility and the lack of one authorised and centralised person to look after economic affairs are problematic – especially given the recent economic upheavals that the country is facing.

The IMF and WB meetings are evidently crucial, that require a person vested with the power to make binding decisions to be in charge. However, several other developments require the services of a full time finance minister. The Council of Common Interests has laid down an extensive if conventional tariff plan to balance the trade deficit. Many of its recommendations, such as deregulating the diesel market, need effective oversight from the Finance Ministry.

Similarly, rumours of upcoming currency devaluation and a steadily falling stock index have made investors jittery and set the economy on tenterhooks – someone needs to take charge and restore stability.

If it is clear that Ishaq Dar is not that man – considering his graft cases and the government’s unwillingness to put him in the forefront, it seems like that is the case – then a new Finance Minister needs to be installed. Even if that is proving to be a contentious issue, the government must at least appoint a singular, competent person to temporarily look after all Finance Ministry affairs while the Minister deals with his legal troubles.

This is not a question of moral authority or graft cases anymore; the nation’s economy needs someone at the helm. Uncertainty is never good for any enterprise – it is decidedly harmful for the economy.