Stories about IMF

Why is the value of the Rupee depreciating, your honour?

“Could you please explain to the committee the factors that have resulted in the sharp depreciation of the Pak Rupee recently? In addition, please enlighten the honourable members of parliament about the possible measures the government is likely to take in order to avoid this in the foreseeable future,” inquired the Chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance. This was the moment I had been waiting for since the day I started my research associate-ship in Pakistan’s Upper House of Parliament, the Senate. I was, finally, about to see the executive being held accountable by the representatives of the people. The ...

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Of bailout packages and bullet trains

At home, a beleaguered finance minister announced he had finally secured the much-need $5.3 billion IMF bailout package, without which his country might have had to announce bankruptcy. Abroad, his prime minister dreamt of shiny new bullet trains costing $20 million per kilometre – approximately $27 billion from Peshawar to Karachi – and that’s just one project. So how does a country, which needs to do hard bargaining for a bailout package of a few billion dollars, orchestrate the infrastructure revolution its prime minister has in mind? Well, simple economics would suggest that you either ditch everything else and pour all ...

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The Iran-Pak pipeline: Who’s funding this project anyway?

The Iran-Pakistan pipeline formerly known as the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline was conceptualised in 1989 to supply India with hydrocarbon resources. Pakistan was set to play only the role of a transiting state as the need for natural gas in the country were substantially lower than what they are today. However the matter was brought to a standstill due to unstable relations between India and Pakistan, it was only after Pakistan agreed to give a sovereign guarantee to India did the matter progress. By this time Iran, due to its nuclear program, was pressured by the United Nations Security Council via sanctions and embargoes. ...

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Capitalism: A blessing in disguise

The word ‘capitalism’ — or sarmaya darana nizam’ — has always had an unpleasant ring to it in Urdu language newspapers. That’s probably why one rarely finds a politician in Pakistan praising capitalism. Even our public intellectuals tend to carefully add qualifiers such as economic justice and social equity while calling for a free-market economy. However, shouldn’t the centrally planned economic system, rather than capitalism, stand discredited after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991? After all, capitalism has lifted millions of people out of poverty since its concluding triumph over socialism two decades ago. A cursory look at ...

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Greece wishes it used the Pakistani rupee!

Moody’s, one of the three biggest ratings agencies in the US, recently sent Pakistan’s credit rating one grade lower into ‘junk’ territory. That is the lowest rating ever bestowed on Pakistan’s sovereign debt. For a relative comparison, Moody’s ranks India’s government-issued debt six spots above Pakistan’s, while Bangladesh’s debt is three spots higher than ours. However, I’d like to make a bow to the optimistic people in our country who insist that we have what it takes to be ‘self-sufficient’ and say that our credit rating is still above that of Greece’s. That’s right. The eurozone’s bane of existence was ...

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Power to the people: Pakistan’s mismanagement of energy

After years of mismanagement and neglect, Pakistan’s electricity supply is almost giving up the struggle. Just as the summer heat is taking its toll, daily blackouts are being imposed for up to 18 to 20 hours a day. This is creating major disruptions to commerce and industry, adding drastically to inflation and unemployment, causing further distress and unrest to the people of Pakistan. The problem has been in the making for many years. The gap between supply and demand is now estimated at 40% because of an aged and inadequate infrastructure; a lack of foresight or planning and inadequate investment ...

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Corruption farce?

The present era is being called the age of corruption by many in Pakistan. Ranging from the National Reconciliation Ordinance to the growing allegations of corruption within state institutions, the perception of the current regime being highly corrupt has solidified. Despite its dominance in popular discourse, there has been little effort made to understand the global political context in which the anti-corruption rhetoric has developed. It is essential for Pakistanis to understand where the anti-corruption slogan is coming from. Ivan Krastev in his 2004 book titled Shifting obsessions: three essays on the politics of anti-corruption, writes: “It was the new anti-corruption rhetoric ...

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Debt and taxes: PPP’s planned loss

Elections are around the corner and the political heat is building-up. Soon there will be rallies, corner meetings and slogan chanting. Despite issues of massive magnitude, PPP’s coalition government will, hopefully, complete its term. But they might not wish to win the next general elections. The case I am trying to make is based on economic realities. Let’s analyse why. In the past four years of government, Pakistan’s economy faced tough challenges; two floods, financial mismanagement and lack of governance in all aspects of government functions, pushing the country into a deep economic crisis. Pakistan’s total public debt, which was Rs.6 trillion ...

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IMF verdict: Strauss-Kahn’t

We’re living in a world where rumour and innuendo, not justice, define the rules for our survival. Instead of judges and juries, we have opinion polls to decide a person’s fate. In the case of former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, that’s exactly how the media is playing it out. When the news broke on May 15 that a maid in New York’s Sofitel hotel had accused the former IMF chief of attempted rape, reactions from all sides were split between downright shock and even doubts of entrapment. Constant updates on his position — him claiming innocence, his lawyers using ...

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Pakistan would have saved the IMF chief

The news about the IMF chief/possible French presidential contender Dominique Strauss-Kahn being arrested and charged with an alleged sexual assault, including an attempted rape of a hotel maid, has been a cause for shock worldwide. The New York Police Department (NYPD), on the complaint of a hotel maid, responded quickly and a high-profile personality like the IMF chief was removed from an Air France plane minutes before it was to take off for Paris. Now, United States (US) courts will decide the fate of Kahn according to American law. While I understand that you cannot compare apples and oranges, when I ...

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