The Prime Minister’s praise for his team on their “economic turnaround” is a little too premature if the entire picture of the economy is taken into consideration. Either the government is seeing something the rest of the country is missing, or its perception of the state of the economy is completely off the mark. The ruling party’s reasons for its optimism seem to be grounded in the decrease in the Current Account Deficit (CAD) and the increase in foreign investment, exports and remittances. While all of this is good news, other factors lie completely ignored.

As far as expected indicators of a negative outlook of the economy are concerned, many expected ones came about as a direct result from the government’s policies. Increased interest rates, a free-floating (and depreciating) currency and massive inflation in everything from the cost of food to energy – increasing the cost of production even further, continuing the inflationary cycle – are all issues that the government and the public were aware would take place once the government adjusted its policies to fulfil the IMF programme criteria. The Prime Minister’s solution, however, leaves much to be desired. Simply ordering his cabinet to stabilise food prices, when politicians know full well that such directives are never actually implemented across the board, tells us that the cabinet has no answers and the general masses will continue to feel the worst pinch as a result of the stagnation.

However, while the government is only focusing on the positives, other systemic issues are exacerbating by the day. And they will continue to do so if the government does not work towards solving these exigent issues. Chief among these is the slowdown of the manufacturing sector; businesses all over the country are naturally worried over thinning profits. But the actual state of the sector is further evidenced by the automobile companies – with over 40000 layoffs. This is a crisis in the making unless the government finds a way out of this mess.

With unemployment and inflation quickly rising, is the Prime Minister’s optimism and commendation to his economic team really warranted? The short answer is no; the government needs to do much more before it can pat itself on the back for a job well done. The manufacturing sector is a major part of the economy, and one with substantial export potential. Plant shutdowns and mass layoffs tell us that the ruling party has its work cut out ahead – perhaps when we see improvement in employment numbers, inflation calculations and plants fully utilising their production capacities, we can join in on the government’s commendations for itself.