Stories about economy

Pakistan’s economic options during the coronavirus crisis

No matter what form of lockdown prevails in Pakistan, one thing is for sure, it will hurt the economy at large with the poorest households being affected the most. As the pandemic pushes the world towards a recession, thousands may lose jobs. According to the last census, a majority of our population, particularly those living in rural areas, earn around Rs 5,000 or less, which already greatly reduces the purchasing power of such households. Most daily wage labourers, both skilled and unskilled, are the most vulnerable and may slip further into destitution during the lockdown. Let us try and estimate ...

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The deadly impact of long working hours

In today’s fast-paced world, human beings are expected to work like machines. Therefore, it is not surprising that incidents of suicides related to workplace pressure are increasing around the world. Based on the findings of the United States (US) Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS), 282 workplace suicides occurred in the US alone in 2013. This number has gradually increased over the years with 304 workplace suicides reported in 2018. In Pakistan, workplace suicide is either under reported or not spoken of at all yet the office space, where one spends most of his or her time, could be a ...

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How Pakistan’s economic crisis is impacting women

The fact that Pakistan’s economy is in a crisis need not be restated. Inflation rates are at a historic high, industrial units are shutting down, workers are being laid-off and there are limited employment opportunities for job market entrants. Sources of revenue are shrinking and the daily life of most the country’s population has become significantly harder. Opinion writers, academics and economists have said a lot about the current economic crisis and its impact on the lives of ordinary people. There is also little to no doubt that the average man is struggling to keep up with the current ...

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Shaukat Yousafzai proves why the PTI government is comedy gold

The current government has many detractors. Words like inept and clueless get bandied about all the time. But as this government drives the nation into the ground, and as you get repeatedly pummelled in the face by the nation’s growing economic woes, take solace in the fact that you will more often than not have a smile on your face during your destruction. While the first year or so in office for a new government is usually seen as an opportunity to lay the stage upon which the ruling party will build upon in the coming years, the Pakistan ...

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Can Pakistan reap the benefits of the fourth industrial revolution?

The fourth industrial revolution or 4IR, for short, is altering human development through the advent of rapid-progressive technology. The Internet of Things (IoT), AI powered computers and big data are just some of the manifestations of this technological transformation. In simple terms, the 4IR is the amalgamation of the digital, physical and biological aspects of our daily lives. This was preceded by a digital revolution which primarily involved computers and information technology. What differentiates 4IR from its predecessor is the speed of the relevant technologies and its expansive effects on our day to day lives. Unfortunately, developing economies such as Pakistan ...

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Will imported tomatoes help tackle rising prices?

In an attempt to tackle the rising prices of vegetables and fruits in Pakistan, the government finally caved in on Wednesday and allowed for tomatoes to be imported from Iran. The Pakistani masses have been bearing the brunt of the nation’s economic woes, but that burden has been worsened recently after the prices of tomatoes began to rise due to faulty economic polices and bad weather which adversely impacted harvests. But perhaps this desperate reaction to reach to Iran for some much needed tomatoes was the result of Abdul Hafeez Shaikh’s, the prime minister’s financial adviser, much ridiculed gaffe earlier in the week. One ...

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What does Pakistan’s improved ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking mean?

The World Bank’s latest rankings of 190 countries on the Ease of Doing Business (EDB) is out.  Pakistan did well, considering it moved up 28 rungs on the rankings ladder, from 136th place to 108th.  In this latest round, Pakistan is one of 10 countries (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Togo, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Kuwait, China, India, and Nigeria) that have improved the most across at least three of the 10 factors that go into constructing the EDB rankings. The annual report received wide publicity on its arrival because the rankings matter. They reflect how conducive the regulatory environment is for opening ...

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Can demonetisation help address Pakistan’s FATF concerns?

While many in Pakistan celebrated after hearing the news that Pakistan had survived ‘Indian lobbying’ attempts to get Pakistan onto the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) black-list, it would be foolish to think that a position on the grey-list is something to be proud of. FATF’s primary duty is to be a global watchdog which curbs money laundering and terror financing, and while Pakistan has assured the task force that the nation will achieve the set targets, the likelihood of this happening still remains circumspect, especially given the wide array of problems the nation is already facing. Undoubtedly, the pace of ‘progress’ is far below ...

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What can Pakistan learn from this year’s Economics Nobel Prize winners?

Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Michael Kremer of Harvard University won this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics. Congratulations to all three Nobel laureates. In their ground-breaking research, the three transformed the way developmental issues are studied, showing what works and what doesn’t. Their adoption of the experimental approach and particularly the use of random control trials, used mostly by biologists, in developmental economics is considered ground-breaking. Experiments open the door to understanding and knowledge, and rather than assuming what would work or wouldn’t, their approach looked at experimental data to come to a ...

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As Asian economies take centre stage, how can Pakistan cash in?

The economic map of Asia is changing at a fast pace, shaped by trade disputes between the United States (US) and its trading partners, and by commercial developments in Asia, especially in China. The Trump administration is using tariffs, and the threat of higher tariffs, to leverage its bargaining positions and extract trade concessions through negotiations with China.  While policymakers in the US and China are struggling to come up with a joint communique, business executives are going to the drawing board to decide what to do next.  A key decision for these businesses is what to do with ...

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