September 17, 2022
The writer is a business analyst.
Poverty, law and order, floods, Dengue, food prices, and rapidly rising electricity and petroleum prices are among some of the major issues of Pakistan. Yet, Pakistanis still live and hope that things will turn for the better.
But the question is how will things turn around? Plethora of economists with a world of experience came to fix Pakistan in the last 75 years but the economy continued to slide.
Now, we only witness criticism for the sake of it from politicians, economists and experts. The fear is that if the situation continues to deteriorate, then Pakistan ultimately will lose its autonomy.
Politicians sitting on opposition benches always point out the policies that are harmful for the country but when they get the power, they just forget about those things. Maybe a lesson of patriotism is all we need as those who always quarrel among themselves, can never prosper.
Before the flood, Pakistan’s GDP was estimated to grow at 6 percent, but today, economists believe it will grow only 3 percent. And even achieving the 3 percent might prove to be difficult as 33 million people have been affected by the floods.
We must appoint people who have the knowhow about global trade in the Trading Corporation of Pakistan. Because people from the bureaucracy run things with antiquated procedures. Something that importers take advantage of and sell things at high prices in Pakistan. Most of these businessmen act like a cartel. They use legal lacunas to manipulate prices that ultimately result in high inflation.
Pakistan so far has failed to eliminate these mafias in TCP and PSO. As a result, whenever the state issues tenders, with insider-help, these people sell things to the state at inflated prices. Moreover, these institutions do not have the capacity to apply strategic methods, nor do they have analysts who study the market, taking the fluctuation of the market into account, and buy stuff at the right price and at the right time. And these institutions never accept any responsibility.
The reality is the Pakistani economy depends on these institutions, but they only procure things in careless manner and neglect their duties. These institutions should be held accountable for their actions and be forced to import at the right prices, so that the country’s economy can do better. But these institutions have never been able to import things at low prices in the last 75 years. People employed in these institutions just waste their time and buy and sell things without thinking about the consequences of their actions.
Pakistan can never make progress if TCP and PSO keep importing things like they did in the last 75 years. In order to reduce the inflation in Pakistan, these institutions will have to be run in a professional manner, so that they import stuff at the right time with lowest price available.
PSO buys oil at an expensive price, then the government is forced to increase the prices of petroleum products. Institutions like PSO are in every country but they are run professionally. They import things at the lowest prices and build up reserves in the storages to be used in times of high inflation or calamities.
Every now and then we see shortages in Pakistan only because of inadequate purchasing mechanism. Be it petrol because of the incompetence of PSO or food items due to TCP’s shortcomings. So, what should we do? Call the army to sort things out in these institutions? Because it is the only professional institution in Pakistan. However, whenever the government appoints retired army officers, these mafias ensnare them also in the web of corruption.
Inflation is making everyone cry nowadays baring the rulers who spend their time in comfort and repeat the mantra of “things will get better soon” for the masses. Electricity, food, everything is expensive these days. And then the worsening condition of law and order has made life unbearable in Pakistan, especially in Karachi. If things continue like this, soon life in Karachi will come to a standstill.
Government needs to enhance security in Karachi, especially improve screening on entrances of the city. Because once thieves and robbers enter the city, they disappear in the city of 20 million people. Karachi has to be made secure, so that Karachi can play its role in improving the country’s economy.