The government of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) is planning to address the crippling economy during its tenure. The amount of debt that Pakistan is under, the economy must be a top priority for anyone in power. However, it seems that the focus of regaining some ground economically has been restricted to dependence on the foreign remittances along with bringing back money into Pakistan which has been sent abroad over the years. The sole dependence on such plans is a little concerning because the strategy might take longer to pan out than originally planned – if it works at all.
Some immediate fixes need to be made to the internal system of Pakistan because that is a more reliable effort which will then go on to complement the efforts to bring back the foreign money into Pakistan’s economy.
Furthermore, Finance Minister, Asad Umar, is of the view that public sector companies will remain functional as they previously worked and no employee will be laid off. The problem with this approach is that the failure of the public sector companies, especially with Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and its history of successive bailouts with no effective policy measures to overcome its challenges put a huge pressure on the Pakistan taxpayer. Overstaffing is perhaps the main reason these companies are inefficient and loss-making – trimming the size of public companies will not be popular but it is neccecary.
With the party in power, the lawmakers will realise that they will have to take some tough decisions in order to actually perform their role and fulfill the promises that they have made to the public - one of which is fixing the economy and that cannot be done by restricting yourself and creating a populist narrative. The inefficiency of some of the public sector companies is well known and that problem needs to be addressed. If these companies are not performing well, the onus should not be on the taxpayers; rather what can be discussed is either their privatisation or strict internal restructuring on purely economic yardsticks. The cyclical dependency on the government funds will only further aggravate the situation.
Policy making at this point requires a holistic approach, especially with PTI’s eagerness to resolve some of the most crucial problems of the polity. The federal government now needs to consider all its options and come up with realistic policies that will not just be reliable but will also be beneficial in the long run.