Essay The IMF Disease Eating Away Our Daily Bread

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The IMF disease eating away our daily bread

Pakistan’s economy has paid a huge price in partnering the war on terror with the USA. According to a recently released IMF report called “Pakistan Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper”, total losses, measured in terms of exports, foreign investment, industrial output and tax collection, are estimated to be around RS 2.08 trillion during the last five years period.

The war on terror has outbalanced already stretched financial resources of the government as a consequence the development projects have been cut resulting in increase in poverty and unemployment. The nation incurred a loss of RS 259 billion in FY 2005 and in FY 2009 it reached over RS 650 billion-indicating more than 100% increase in losses. The report indicates that FY 2007/08 has been a bad year for the economy when several unexpected political and economic events occurred.

The period of economic boom started in 2001/02 and it busted in 2006/07. During the boom period, the economy recorded several macroeconomic achievements. It doubled in size with annual GDP growth rate peaked at 7%, incredibly inflation was well under control during the boom period, the debt burden reduced to one-half, foreign exchange reserves were sufficient to cover up 6 months import, Pakistani stock market ranked among the top performers in the emerging markets, and the FDI was 6% of GDP. Given the brighter outlook of the economy, Pakistan successfully launched sovereign bonds of maturity ranging from 5-30 years and these were oversubscribed in the international capital market which reflected strong confidence of foreign investors.

The above achievements were recorded when the IMF was staying from Pakistan and the country was free t...

... middle of paper ...

...addressed immediately are; improvement in security situation and the economic governance.
The government is running out of choices as on the one hand it has to meet the harsh conditionalities of the IMF and on the other has to save the economy from total collapse-balancing the two wheels is rather a difficult job for the economic managers of the country. The harsh IMF conditions at the moment are doing no good to the economy, instead, have added to the frustration of common men. What Pakistan needs right now is a growth which is not only demand driven but job oriented which will help increase consumers’ income and standards of living of average Pakistanis. But with high prevailing interest rates, poor security situation coupled with carrot and stick game of the IMF, the task is unlikely to be achieved. Hence the growth will remain subdued in the near future.

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