The ticking pension bomb – Ikram Sehgal

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Present public perception benignly ignores the fact that Pakistan’s economy was put in dire straits by the PML(N) govt. The PTI narrative was late in propagating this, PML (N) and PPP have taken full advantage of it. The acute fiscal and monetary problems were belatedly being addressed by this government when the current pandemic shattered economics all over the world.

While burgeoning prices were initially acutely felt, the lack of effective monitoring of prices have led to a substantial increase, particularly in food items. The GDP growth of 5.6% in the year 2017/18 came down to about 2.4% in 2018/19. Expected around 2.5% in the current fiscal year it is now likely to go down to (-)1.5%. The next budget will likely be quite difficult because of a large number of workers reverting back to Pakistan from the Middle East.

This has caused a temporary increase in remittances; however, technology, if it is implemented without bureaucratic constraints, can remedy this by direct payments, both to accounts directly and through individual mobile telephones. Already under pressure our exports are likely to be hit hard, further complicated by thissa year’s low yield of cotton, wheat and vegetables creating the need for more imports.