ISLAMABAD – Just a few days before the expiration of its term, the PPP-led federal government has brought in a new economic guru, the fifth finance minister, as the country's economic indicators touch the lowest ebb.
Sources said Dr Shaikh might be given a key post in the interim set-up. Rana Assad Amin, advisor and spokesperson to the finance ministry, said that Mandviwala had taken the oath as finance minister, adding that he had no idea about Dr Shaikh's near future plans or his expected placement in the interim set up.
Reports said PM Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Tuesday held separate meetings with Shaikh and Mandviwala, and informed them regarding the decision.
The govt has made two major reshuffles in its economic team in the last one week by replacing the finance minister as well as the secretary. The prime minister had removed Abdul Wajid Rana from the slot of the finance secretary and gave the charge to Additional Secretary Abdul Khaliq.
Sources said there was a continuous power tussle between Sheikh and Mandviwala that resulted in a major change.
The beleaguered PPP govt has several times changed its economic team to overcome the financial challenges during the past four-and-a-half years, as it replaced five finance ministers, four governors of the State Bank of Pakistan, five finance secretaries, and six heads of the Federal Board of Revenue.
The level of turnover in the government's economic team only reflects the inconsistency and confusion with which it handled the economy. But economic situation remained worse during the period under review.
The government, which took charge on March 18, 2008, appointed Senator Ishaq Dar as the first finance minister, who quit the charge as his party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, left the government due to the political differences with the ruling PPP. Dar served as finance minister from March 31, 2008 to May 12, 2008. Later, the charge was given to Syed Naveed from May 2008 to October 8, 2008.
The incumbent government appointed Shaukat Tarin as the third finance minister, who remained in the office from October 2008 to February 22, 2010.
Dr Shaikh assumed the charge of advisor to the prime minister on finance on March 19, 2010 after the resignation of Shaukat Tarin from the post of the finance minister.
Despite changing its economic team a number of times, the present government led by the Pakistan People's Party failed to overcome economic problems. It has broken all previous records of getting foreign and local loans, and failed to control depreciation of rupee against US dollar, bridge the ballooning budget deficit, eliminate corruption in the public sector entities and above all overcome the ongoing power crisis.