Securing Progress

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has issued a much-need­ed assessment of Pakistan’s economic situation, and so far the report shows that the outlook is primarily positive, pro­vided caution is taken in certain areas.

While the country is anticipated to witness improvements across various indicators, such as inflation, GDP growth, agricultural re­covery following floods, and revenue collection, this is all contin­gent on the crucial role of political stability and enhanced security so that we can actually sustain this positive trajectory.

Firstly, the projected recovery in inflation and GDP growth shows a positive trend for the economy overall. The post-flood agricultural recovery is expected to contribute to this growth by strengthening our agricultural sector and also consequently supporting our man­ufacturing, something we have been desperately lacking for the lon­gest time. Furthermore, the increase in tax collection, a major step taken by the government was endorsed for its aid in revenue mobil­isation, and has made it clear what our path of action must be.

These are all positive indicators but the bane of Pakistan’s econ­omy for the past few years has consistently been its political sta­bility and security, and these are inarguable prerequisites for long-term economic growth now. Political instability will mean that all we have done can be undone; we need a sense of sustain­ability in our reform efforts. We must try our best to create a con­ducive political environment to build confidence in investors who can facilitate our progress.

Spillover effects from the war in the Middle East have fallen upon the shoulders of many countries and Pakistan is no exception. Any disruptions in global supply chains resulting from the escalation of conflict could adversely impact Pakistan’s economy. Hence, our policymakers need to remain vigilant and proactive in addressing geopolitical risks to safeguard the country’s economic interests and minimise the damage as much as possible.

Political continuity is imperative moving forward now. For the lon­gest time, we have been scrambling for different solutions, trying to see which works. For now, the path has been made clear. We must continue our attempts to eliminate militancy at our borders or any se­curity threat that may affect the stability of our nation. Any attempts to polarise the nation or cause upheaval must be swiftly dealt with. This is a golden opportunity for growth, and it cannot be squandered.

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