Paucity to Prosperity

Pakistan exits the International Monetary Fund [IMF] programme–”as the Fund’s Board of Directors complete the 9th and final review of the country’s three year Poverty Reduction Growth Facility [PRGF]–”allowing it to forgo the final episode of $262 million. The Board welcomed decision of Pakistan about exiting the programme and noted that–”it would now rely on domestic and international capital markets–”to meet its financing needs.

It is indeed a landmark event in the history of Pakistan and–”virtually a moment of joy–”for the countrymen that, at last, we have regained our economic sovereignty, getting rid of heavy reliance on loans that had shameful conditions attached with. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and–”of-course his team of economic managers–”can rightly take credit for this great achievement and deserve appreciation of the entire nation.

Seen in the backdrop of Pakistan’s economic situation in 1999–”this is something like a miracle. At that time, Pakistan was at the verge of bankruptcy–”and we were running from pillar to post–”for a few dollars not only to make payment for the essential imports–”but also pay back the due debt. One cannot forget those trying times–”when our leadership was forced to visit this and that country–”with a begging bowl.

It is, therefore, quite satisfactory for every Pakistani that the economy of the country–”is now out of woods and we are in a position to decline offers of loans and assistance by donor countries and institutions. The decision to exit the IMF programme–”would not only help heal up the bruised ego of the nation–”but would also send a strong signal to the world that this fascinating realm–”is now on the path of economic stability.

Pakistan’s improved economic health has already established its reputation in the international capital market–”which was confirmed by the overwhelming response evoked by the last bond launched by the Government. Several agencies have also revised upward Pakistan’s rating in view of the turn around in the economy and–”our capability to pay back loans.

All this, coupled with pre-payment of costly loans–”worth over one billion dollars by the Government–”clearly shows that we are well on the strong and vibrant road to economic sovereignty. This augurs well–”as political sovereignty of a country is directly linked to economic sovereignty. Our shabby economy and financial vulnerability compelled us to accept even humiliating conditionality.

However, while welcoming this tempo and magnitude of development–”we would advise the economic managers to explore new ways and means–”to strengthen the economy, still more.

Fast denuding foreign exchange reserves–”explicitly–”in the face of sky-rocketing prices of oil in the international market and slump in domestic agriculture are reflective of the fact that we still have to work hard to sustain the growth and improvement in our economy. This calls for solid measures–”to increase productivity and to multiply our exports–”specifically through value addition.

We are sure that–”such a marvelous scenario is possible–”as nothing is impossible, if optimal devotion and dedication is applied in the pecuniary arena, and that too–”with optimal zest.