Bite the Bullet

Pakistan has been facing economic difficulties since 1947 to date. Although there was a good time in the 1960s yet after the East Pakistan crisis, we started lagging behind in the economic domain owing to short term decision making for the betterment of the economy. Today, when the PTI government was thinking to revamp the political system with a refreshed form of governance. It came to know that the Pakistan economy has been in troubled water because of money laundering and deep-rooted corruption.

The PTI awoke the people before general elections (2013, 2018) that how Pakistan was going to be bankrupt if the PMLN or PPP came in power again. The people of Pakistan buy the idea of the PTI and gave a vote in its favor in 2018 general elections. The PTI chairman used to say loudly that he would prefer death over going to the IMF or other countries for a loan as it might sell out the dignity of the country. Therefore, people of Pakistan charged upon the call of the PTI. The 2018 general elections, the first time in the history of Pakistan, gave way to the third party in for rescuing the country from the clutches of money launderers and corrupt political demagogues.

The PTI vociferous claims really damaged the so-called top elite in Pakistan. we have to give credit to the PTI chairman for starting the accountability process from the top and waged cases against the big fish of the country. In previous civil or military governments, no one dared to do that. The National Accountability Bureau Chairman claims that it has recovered the Rs. 303.767 billion till April 2019 from 36 top money launderers in Pakistan. The statistics sources Gillani and Gallup survey believe that 59 percent of people lauded the efforts of the NAB in eradicating corruption.

After this bright picture, the PTI government got eclipsed when it decided to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for liberating the tattered economy from the consistent devaluation of the currency and increasing inflation in the result. It may be the bad decision as the previous governments have been doing that and the PTI used to be critical for such bad policies. Joseph E. Stiglitz was a former president of the World Bank, cited in, Globalization and its Discontents that IMF and WB were the institutions behind the East Asian economic crises 1997.

In the prevailing uncertain environment, Imran Khan has to go to basics. We need to import our needs and export the surplus. Unfortunately, Pakistan may be the only country in the world that used to import its luxuries and export its needs. The PM has to take a firm step in this regard and stop all imports except oil and machinery. We have to use our comparative advantages in exporting leather, cotton, clothes and its accessories instead of importing luxuries from abroad. We can wait at least for these five years and stop buying imported goods.

The PM knows that he has to focus his eye on the ball. In the prevailing circumstances, he needs to use his capabilities at his best as fortunately, all institutions are standing behind him. People are supporting him with all odds like increased inflation and devaluation of the currency. In such ideal conditions, the PM needs to bite the bullet. He needs to refresh the economy with the help of IMF and pay off the debt as early as possible, taking a leaf from the book out of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. This is the high time to jump through hoops instead of trading allegations upon the previous governments for ongoing economic crises. It is true but it was water under the bridge. Therefore, utilize the ideal environment where the PM is enjoying authority as well as legitimacy in running government affairs. We need to tighten up the belts for a new Pakistan without IMF and WB assistance. The IFIs do not stop us to take positive steps for refreshing our economy. We need to do fewer expenditures and increase our income, it is only possible to cut down all subsidies and increase the prices of luxuries, include, 1500 cc plus cars, LEDs, cosmetics, like smart cell phones, air conditioners, refrigerators, cigarettes, etc up to 2000%. All the rich afford to buy all these items and the national exchequer will get the income. The price hike in electricity and gas charges may be rationalized. The electricity usage up to 200 units per month can be lower down to Rs 5 only. The electricity usage up to 300 units per month the price would be Rs 10 per unit. Now increase the unit charges with the increase in the usage of electricity. It will benefit the poor and burdening the rich who can afford the pressure easily. Here is the formula for the rationalization of prices in electricity:

Units used Price per unit
400-500 RS 20
500-600 RS 25
600-700 RS 30

Now give the incentive to the person who utilized the electricity more than 1000 units per month. He can be fixed for Rs. 20. We need to rationalize the prices for gas in the same way. Above all, stealing energy sources and other energy losses must be considered a national crime in the prevailing economic crises. The parliament has to make strict laws regarding crimes of energy theft.

In the same way, a net metering system can also be introduced on efficient grounds as it is already in the pipeline but not yet implemented. People can also be encouraged to use solar panels as an alternate source of energy and they can put the electricity to the national grid to minimize their home bills.

In the same way, rationalize the prices of food items which are mostly the rich use make them expensive and for the poor lower down the prices in the following way:

Food Items Prices
Mutton RS 4000 per Kg
Beef RS 1000 per kg
Broccoli RS 600 per kg
Desi ghee RS 3000 Per kg
Lentils RS   80-100 per kg
Rice RS 100 per kg
Milk pure RS 100 per kg
Cooking oil RS 100 per kg
Onion RS 30-50
Tomato RS 30-50
Potato RS 30-50

We also need to grow basic vegetables at home. Tomato, lemon, green onion etc can be produced at home.

The PM has to rationalize the price mechanism in a disciplined and efficient way. It has to implement in the letter and spirit. A price control policy is the only way to support the poor and rich equitably. Tax net has to be rationalized and rich people supposed to participate in the state as well as nation building. The only way to get tax from the people is to impose the Zakat system and finish all other taxes. This capitalist system is supporting the rich and depriving the poor. Profit maximization is the only agenda of the capitalist system. We need to evolve our economic system based on liberacantilism a mixture of liberalism and mercantilism) to make our people prosperous and happy. Zakat is the only best option to circulate money and rescind the concentration of wealth in few hands.

The Way Forward

The PM has to take bold decisions if he really intends to make a New Pakistan. He needs to implement his course of action that believes in the basic manifesto of the PTI. This is regarding give rise to the poor and encourage the investors to invest in our country. It is only possible through rationalization of structures and functions in Pakistan. He needs to make sure that this help from the IMF would only to sustain the meager economy only not to last forever.

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