Former finance minister Dr Hafeez Pasha commented on the current economic crisis under Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s government and said that the government elected after 2023 General Elections would inherit a worse economy than the one the PTI inherited.
Dr Hafeez Pasha, while expressing his opinion on the country’s rampant external debt, said: “Pakistan’s $111 billion external debt is growing rapidly. In two years we’ll have to pay up to $11 billion each year. We’ll have to generate this money through borrowing.” He said that considering the current alarming status of Pakistan’s economy, the country could see more ‘hard times’ ahead. Dr Pasha commented on the rising issue of joblessness in the country, predicting that in the next few months, up to six hundred thousand people could be rendered jobless. “This would push 15 million to 20 million people into poverty,” he added.
What is the solution?
The economist was of the view that the government should pay more attention to the daily wagers who were not covered by the Ehsaas program. “You’ve increased [the Ehsaas programme] from 5m to 12m families which is a good step but now perhaps next time you can take it to 17m to 18m families. This is essential. People are at risk of starving.” Dr Pasha said that the government should reach 15 million people through adopting new methods. “Make small and medium enterprises or SMEs (surgical, leather, sports goods) a priority and protect them as they are our backbone. They give 13 million jobs,” he added.
He also argued the government to not increase the petroleum levy at the moment, since it would make everything more expensive. He said this was not the time to increase taxes.
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