It seems that stating the obvious in a series of repetitions – ranging from polite reminders, to sobering admonitions – has had no effect in inspiring the government to find ways of stabilising the fluctuating economy. On Thursday, the International Monetary Fund warned Pakistan that economic growth in the country faced a serious threat, mainly due to the measures built into the $6.7 billion rescue loan for the country. The Extended Fund Facility (EFF) had been approved for a three-year arrangment that would target structural reform as well as the commencement of growth programme for the country.

An abundant lot has been said about Pakistan’s economy by its government, while not enough has been done to actually get anything done. According to alarming figures presented by the IMF, GDP growth has only averaged a paltry three percent, over the past five years. That, combined with the fact that -- out of an uncontrolled population of almost 180 million people -- only 250,000 pay taxes, amounts to the country facing a dire predicament relating to its financial health. It also subsequently raises questions about the increasingly inferior quality of life, throughout Pakistan, and the dim prospects of improvement. The country’s electricity and energy crisis only worsens whatever little is left to pull Pakistan forward; with power shedding for up to 20 hours in some towns, the input from industries is hammered to a crushing halt.

The IMF had put forward simple conditions for the rescue loan with a firm emphasis on tax collection from citizens that would result in a proper restructuring of the country’s economy. The agriculture sector, that makes up roughly 50% of economic output, is entirely exempt from taxes. A considerable number of those controlling stakes in the agricultural industry also maintain links – direct and indirect – with the National Assembly. In simple words, feudal members and landlords with vested interests in the parliament have resisted tax payment. Utter disinterest by the government in ensuring a follow up, has only aggravated the national economy.

Mindful of how austerity in spending will only discourage the already scanty 3% GDP growth, the IMF advised against such measures and recommended tax collection instead. The advice is simple and the outline for it is more than obvious but, unfortunately, PML-N has so far shown reluctance to take tough, necessary decisions indicated by IMF. It should not be the IMF sending urgent memos to a country at high risk of economic crisis, and faced by increasing unemployment and a sea of young people disheartened by a decade of extremism and economic stagnation.