Uncertainty inflicts loss of billions to economy

By Muhammad Ashraf Wani

ISLAMABAD, July 10 (APP): The country’s economy had to bear loss of
billions of rupees during the past four years owing to occasional uncertainty created by
sit-ins, Panama leaks, Dawn leaks, lock-downs and other such unfortunate events since
the PML-N government took over in 2013.
However, the government policies did not let the economy derail and ensured
positive growth, the ten years’ highest 5.3 percent during the fiscal year 2016-17 also
ensuring improvement in foreign exchnage reserves besides winning confidence of the
The economic and financial experts are of the view that had there been
normal environment, the economy of the country could have performed beyond
imagination,however the sit-ins of 2014 followed by law and order situation, and then
various `leaks’ followed by political uncertainty not only inflicted direct losses to the
economy but also diverted the focus from priorities to some extent, causing huge
damages, economic experts observed.
For the government, all these activities were conspiracies to halt the
rapid economic development in the country as the PML(N) led political regime had prime
focus to lift the country towards new heights of progress.
“PML(N) government adopted prudent policies and lifted the economy from trash to
new heights, and that achievement its opponents could not digest,” said Minister for
Planning, Development and Reform, Ahsan Iqbal.
Commenting on the current situation, the minister said that the drama being staged
in the country for the last few months was not aimed at eliminating corruption, but to
de-stabilize the PML-N government.
“The whole nation is made hostage only on a private issue of the prime
minister, resultantly the government’s efforts in elevating the index of Pakistan Stock
Exchange to 50,000 point has been reversed as the index shed 10,000 points during last
week which incurred a loss of over US $12 billion to the nation,” he added.
The business community of the country had also expressed serious
reservations over the unending uncertainty, which it said had created a crisis-like
situation in the country, hence making doing business difficult.
“No doubt, the sit-ins of 2014 inflicted loss of billions rupees to the business
community and overall economy and the prevailing situation also put on risk several
economic gains,” said Mian Shoukat Masood, Vice President Federation of Chambers of
Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) while talking to APP.
He was of the view that the situation diverted attention of the government from
taking forward the economy and had limited its focus to fast-changing political
developments, hence putting the development at stake.
The experts said that the sit-ins of 2014 had affected the country’s
economic progress, causing direct and indirect, measurable and immeasurable losses, the
sit-ins organized by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Tahirul Qadri-led Pakistan
Awami Tehreek in 2014, had forced the cancellation of a visit by Sri Lankan president
before casting doubt on the planned arrival of the Chinese head of state.
Business community needs peaceful environment for promoting businesses and
investments in the country, said President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and
Industry (ICCI), Khalid Iqbal Malik told APP.
“No business can flourish in the environment of instability and for
promoting business and economic activities, the first prerequisite is to ensure peace and
stability,” Malik added.
He said that the uncertainty whether in the form of 2014 sit-ins of the recent political
development going on in the country, have had great effect on the economy of the
Chairman Liquefied Petroleum Gas Distributors Association (LPG) Irfan
Khokhar said the LPG industry had also suffered a lot due to political unrest and the
situation of uncertainty, which kept the foreign investors away from the country.
He said LPG mafia took benefit of the situation and sold the commodity in peak
season even at Rs 350 per kilogram in certain areas.
But despite all these odds, he said the country’s LPG market would swell to 1.8
million metric tons this year due to effective policies of the PML-Ngovernment, which was
0.5 mt LPG in 2013.