Falling by 0.3 percent—51 paisas—the Pakistani Rupee has been weakened to 168.38 against the US dollar compared to the last closing at 167.87—a record low. Considering how the government has put an end to lockdowns, the economy has resumed with an influx of imports. The only way in which the exchange rate will favour us is if we take a step back from being one of the world’s leading import countries, and focus on exporting commodities instead.

The unfortunate circumstances can also be attributed to the ongoing discussions with Saudi Arabia in regards to the $3.2 billion loan, granted 2018, in deferred payments for oil imports—the largest and most expensive import of the country. While Islamabad returned $1 billion ahead of time, the demand to pay back the remaining amount remains strong. Already, the supply of petroleum products to Pakistan has been cut, owing to the suspension of a $3.2 billion credit line by the Kingdom. Furthermore, there is also speculation that many Middle Eastern countries are looking to withdraw billions of dollars from the State Bank of Pakistan, making the rupee all the more volatile. Clearly, our reliance on imports has led us down a path of dependency, debt and economic instability.

If we are to recover ground, a sharp focus on increasing exports and stimulating a demand for the rupee in the international market is needed. Currently, our output is valued at $1.998 billion in contrast to $3.54 billion in imports—almost twice the amount. This is especially alarming since the government has been exercising more control over imports in the last two years to boost exports. Regardless of these efforts, the country is witnessing a major decline in the export of rice, cement, raw leather and cotton yarn. If corrected, we can prevent the currency from sliding further and improve our economic standing as a whole.