The editorial by Najam Sethi in this week’s Friday Times [July 4-10, 2008] indicates how dire the situation is in
Many Pakistanis are worried about a perceptible sense of drift in
More alarmingly, the Pakistani economy which grew by 6.8 per cent a year from 2003-07, is sputtering in the face of post-election economic uncertainty and political instability. … Without continued high growth and poverty alleviation, significant sections of the politically volatile urban middle classes will slip through the net, creating a vast pool of angry unemployed or under-employed. With the government becoming increasingly immobilized in the face of rising Islamic and anti-American nationalism (the irony is that
The budget deficit for 2007-08 was targeted at 4% of GDP but has actually turned out to be about 8%. The balance of payments deficit is also about 8% of GDP, the highest ever in our history. Forex reserves have fallen from a high of US$16.5 billion in October 2007 to about US$11 billion today, despite being recently bolstered by a combination of
First, we need a full fledged working government in
Second, the government should stop dragging its feet on all the unpopular economic decisions that need to be taken to straighten out the fundamentals of the economy. This means abolishing general subsidies on fuel and food while creating specific ones for the poorest sections of society. It also means re-creating an economic environment that is friendly towards both domestic and international investors.
Third, the government must tackle the war on terror seriously without worrying about any popular backlash. The fact is that this war is now
Mr Asif Zardari’s laid-back approach is creating public disquiet. Problems have mounted because difficult decisions were postponed and controversial solutions swept under the carpet. ….
July 4-10, 2008 - Vol. XX, No. 20