Needed Investment

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to Qatar has been successful, with funding up to $3 billion promised to be injected into various sectors of our economy. This is a much-needed boost for the contracting economic conditions in Pakistan. But it must be remembered that the investment will come slowly, which is why its effects will not be observable immediately—except perhaps in the form of a momentary boost in investor confidence in the stock market and beyond.
There are reports that the investment will be targeted towards the main airports of Karachi and Islamabad, alongside injections into the renewable energy, power and hospitality sectors. The sectors being targeted are important considering that our economy needs a kickstart. But any future plans must be strategic to make the overall economy grow in the long-term and decrease our dependence on foreign partners for bailouts at crucial moments.
For this to be possible, our priorities must be clear. Energy is an important sector, and moving dependence away from oil and costly fossil fuel imports must be something we prioritise going forward. This is why investment from Qatar in this sphere is important. But how this is used—which sources of energy are to be focused on, how are the plans going to be executed and under what timeframe—is important to address immediately as well, especially since there is not long left till this government’s term expires.
Similarly, other crucial sectors that are currently relying on imports must also be localised. This includes manufactured goods and edible commodities. The vulnerabilities exposed in the economy in the past year entail a reset, and these injections of funding by foreign partners allow for the government to make crucial investments that can help frame policymaking in economic matters as well. It is down to the government—how much it manages to get out of these opportunities.

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