PRESIDENT Asif Ali Zardari is confident enough that the country will be able to pull itself out of the prevailing credit crunch crisis. Talking to media he on Thursday remarked that the country was not a limited firm, which could go bankrupt. While it is good to see the president painting an optimistic picture, the fact remains that the challenges faced by Pakistan's economy seem to be increasing by the hour. The situation has been made worse by extraneous factors like the global financial crisis that has caught even the richest nations of the world unawares. The government no doubt, worried by this dismal scenario, is taking some steps to repair the damage. At present a team headed by Prime Minister's Adviser on Finance Shaukat Tarin is in Washington to hammer out some sort of arrangement with the IMF and the World Bank to prevent the liquidity from drying up. Mr Tarin has also expressed the hope that other than ventures like 'Friends of Pakistan', the US will itself come up with a $5 billion package to aid our system. In the meanwhile, the country's general macroeconomic indicators continue to be a matter of concern. Strictly speaking this state of affairs is exacting a heavy toll on the plight of the common man. With a near war-like situation in the tribal belt and the spate of suicide bombings, business activity has suffered a lot. This has led to a considerable cut in foreign inflows consequently resulting in rupee falling to a record low against dollar. The IMF has warned that the country's GDP can fall as low as 3.5 per cent, which only means that there will be more poverty in the days to come. Meanwhile, the increase in power tariff of over 70 percent for Karachi Electric Supply Company's consumers has shocked many. Residents of the city when asked to comment said it was a cruel joke. For one thing, there has been continued load-shedding spells lasting many hours and for another, an ordinary man's budget would nearly be ruined paying this much. However for the rest of the country the news according to MD Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd is that there would be gas shortage this winter season. As part of its relief package the government has come up with three projects: Benazir Income Support Programme: cheap roti initiative, and lastly it is relying on Zakat funds. One must however be careful in assessing their overall impact and utility. For instance the government of Punjab will spend Rs 1bn per month as subsidy for ensuring that roti is sold at Rs 2. These schemes are certainly welcome but it is a fact that they cannot be relied upon in the long term. Greater efforts are required to turn the corner around.