THE government has reportedly held out a promise to the IMF that the electricity subsidies would end by June 30. This would increase the financial strain on the consumers who are already bearing the brunt of the government's poorly conceived energy policy. The issue of lowering the bank rates also came under discussion at a meeting held in Islamabad between the IMF and central bank officers on Wednesday. Though both sides were of the opinion that the interest rates should be slashed they thought it would not be possible to do so until the inflation rate goes down. As things stand, inflation is likely to come down in about a year's time. But combined with the fact that the power outages are scheduled to increase soon it would discourage any large-scale foreign and local investments. This puts the government in a tight corner. As a result, the country would not be able to meet the growth target, as already indicated by Adviser to PM on Finance Shaukat Tarin. There is little that could suggest that the situation on the economic front is improving. One must not ignore the warning by US Senators John Kerry and Chuck Hagel that Pakistan might not be able to survive the shocks and could become a failed state unless financial aid of $5 billion or so was provided to it. Meanwhile Sharif brothers' disqualification has created panic among businessmen and investors. This factor could seriously deter economic growth, as the absence of business friendly atmosphere for a relatively long time could exact a heavy toll on the country's financial position. The government thus ought to take measures both political and economic to end the sense of uncertainty that exist in Pakistan due to the ongoing turmoil. Similarly it has to intensify efforts to obtain the needed finances from friendly countries, something that has already taken too long. Unless these steps are taken the economy would continue to remain in the doldrums.