Faisal Ali Ghumman
Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh has announced today that an agreement has been struck between the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for receiving $3 billion loans as bailout package in coming three years.
He has also been quoted as saying that additionally the government will be receiving $2 billion to $3 billion from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the same period.
The IMF board will give approval of the package, the advisor tells a new channel anchor on Sunday.
If we don’t forget the same bailout package of round $6.7 billion with three-year time span was also secured by Nawaz Sharif-led government in 2013, though majority chunk of the loans was either mismanaged or used for getting of rid of interests on borrowings.
Mr Sheikh further reveals that Pakistan was burned with $90 billion external borrowings last year. He has also indicated rising tariff in some sectors of the country.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has already secured certain loan packages and deferred payments plan from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and China.
The series of borrowings and reliance on International Financial Institutions (IFIs) by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf led government give a clear message that Pakistanis can’t come out of the clutches of expensive-ever loans as financial managers sitting at the helm of affairs were either the part of such IFIs or used to follow their footprints.
This government too has no altogether different approach from her predecessors as how to generate income from domestic resources like reforming taxation, strengthening small and medium scale manufacturing, and booting exports.
Just take a look at the exorbitant prices of every day used items including medicines in markets and bazaars ones comes to establish one thing that if sitting government can’t tackle domestic matters how would it handle the increasing volumes of loans and interests in years to come.
Asad Umar, one of the key members of Imran’s government, abandoned the finance ministry after he reportedly differed with the IMF harsh conditions of removing subsidies and hiking power and fuel tariff for Pakistanis.
Now the entry of Mr Sheikh, who has served global lenders like the World Bank, will create no much difference to revive and improve the economic indicators of Pakistan.
There seems to be no practical and quick work to revive sick industrial units and rescue small and medium scale manufacturers who are seen complaining rising input cost.
The ‘controversial’ appointment of a tax expert Shabbar Rizvi as the head of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has not only irked the bureau’s office and field formations, but also forced the people to believe that a man who defended the national and multi-national companies in tax matters may not go against the national interests.
Our worth PM and his team before 2018 elections used to brutally criticise PML-N and PPP governments for seeking foreign loans and now are sailing the same boat.
If Imran Khan wants to follow the same footprints by only relying on external borrowings, he then has state and moral obligation to use billions of dollars loans in right direction and don’t let the amount going corrupted or wasted in the hands of ‘corrupt’ and ‘tainted’ bureaucracy.
In my opinion and of others Pakistan’s economy struggling hard at present age will not be in a position to be re-punched. The time demands that Khan’ government appear as a knight in shining armour for the country.
–The writer is columnist, Editor-in-Chief lahoremirror.com, Ex-Editor Daily The Business and Ex-Correspondent Daily Dawn