ISLAMABAD - The newly elected Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which is all set to form the federal government, would face gigantic economic challenges including stabilising the local currency and building the foreign exchange reserves.

The PTI is well ahead in the general election winning majority of the national and provincial seats and will form its government in next few days. The country's economic situation is deteriorating as the foreign exchange reserves are depleting due to widening of current account deficit and repayment of previous loans.  The economic experts had already warned that newly elected government would approach International Monetary Fund (IMF) for bailout package to stabilise the external sector.

Reserves are standing at $9.5 billion, which are enough to cover less than two months imports bill. Reserves would come under further pressure as the country would have to repay two billion dollars in next few weeks.

Meanwhile, the current account deficit is widening at sharp pace, which is eroding the reserves of the country. The current account deficit had recorded at $18 billion during previous fiscal year.

Similarly, Pakistani rupee is depreciating as the dollar recently had gone beyond Rs130.

On the other hand, the budget deficit is expectedly to go beyond 7 percent of the GDP (Rs2.5 trillion) during FY2018. Meanwhile, Pakistan's debt has increased to an unsustainable level of Rs24.5 trillion or 72percent of total size of economy. The public debt of Rs24.5 trillion included domestic debt of Rs16.5 trillion and external debt of Rs8 trillion.

Caretaker Finance Minister has recently feared that debt would reach to 74 percent of the GDP during ongoing fiscal year. The fiscal responsibility and debt limitation act, 2005 (FRDLA, 2005) had a limit of debt of 60 percent of the GDP.

PTI chairman Imran Khan, who is expected to become prime minister, in his media talk said that the country's economy is facing historic challenges. He said that fiscal and trade deficit are touching all time high level.

Furthermore, the rupee is touching historic low level and public debt is ballooning. Khan has termed all these economic issues as a result of dysfunctional economic departments and failed governance system.

He vowed to reduce the cost of doing business and bring investment in the country after eliminating corruption. 

Another PTI leader informed The Nation that they are aware of the economic situation of the country. "It is premature to say who will be the finance minister," he said wishing not to be named. He further said that PTI would decide to approach the IMF for fresh bailout package after thoroughly reviewing the economic situation after getting briefings from the ministry of finance and Federal Board of Revenue.

"The PTI had already given economic vision in its election manifesto," he added.

Under the economic growth, PTI in its manifesto said that it would boost the tourism industry, turnaround IT sector to build a knowledge economy, strengthen international trade; revitalise textile sector and boost exports. It would unleash Pakistan's potential in agriculture, revamp the livestock sector; build dams, take on Pakistan's water scarcity challenges and revive the fisheries industry.

The business community has pinned hopes from the newly elected government of PTI.

The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has called upon the PTI to announce a short-term plan for quick revival of the economy in case it assumed power in the center. The ICCI said that the economy of Pakistan was currently confronted with many challenges as the rupee has witnessed record depreciation, trade deficit as swelled to over $ 37 billion, exports were way behind the target, forex reserves have dwindled significantly while instead of becoming a manufacturing hub, Pakistan was turning into a trading country. They said all these challenges demanded that the new government should accord top priority to form a new strategy in consultation with private sector to turn around the dwindling economy.