Pakistan is under severe economic crisis, needs a resilient FM to pull it out of the economic rut

The post of Finance Minister of Pakistan is more a crown of thorns, than the post of Prime Minister. The finance minister has to fight all the challenges

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There are signs that a new government will be in place in Pakistan by this week. Only a few days are left from the formation of a new alliance government of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). It is certain that Shehbaz Sharif will become the new Prime Minister. However, the most curious thing to watch out will be, that is who will be the finance minister in the new government.  

The post of Finance Minister of Pakistan is more a crown of thorns, than the post of Prime Minister. The finance minister has to fight all the challenges, like the economic crisis, rising inflation, reduced sources of income, and political instability, to bring Pakistan out of its debt. This is a very difficult task. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been helping for the past eight years, so the economy of Pakistan is somehow staying afloat. Getting this help from the IMF will be the first priority of the new Finance Minister.

Two years ago, floods wreaked havoc everywhere in Pakistan. A huge loss was caused to the economy. Pakistan has still not recovered from that natural calamity. Add to that, Imran Khan’s government was ousted from power which has led to extreme political instability. Had the IMF not bailed out eight months ago, Pakistan would have gone into bankruptcy. Pakistan’s economic situation is still fragile. The revenue deficit has shot up to 7.3 percent. The rate of inflation has reached seven to eight percent. Both fuel and electricity cost a lot of money.

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Pakistan may also receive more financial assistance from the IMF. However, it is estimated that their conditions will be very oppressive this time. The new government has an opportunity to bring the economy back on track by making good improvements in the two sectors of retail and real estate. Measures like curbing electricity theft and collecting taxes from rich businessmen and farmers need to be taken.

There is an opinion among economists and economic experts that Pakistan International Air (PIA) should be shut down as a state-owned company that is continuously losing money. Instead of taking decisions to please the voters, these experts want to secure the future of the voters by taking tough decisions. For that, the opinion is that there should be a resilient finance minister who can accept the IMF conditions and take all the social elements along.

Experts and economists doubt whether there is such a person in Pakistan. However, the most important thing is that the expectation that the new finance minister should implement new ideas and bring Pakistan out of the economic crisis cannot be fulfilled without the will of the Pakistan Army.  

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