A Government in the Making!

Only a government that carries a clear economic ideology can actually take its country to the next stage of development growth and prosperity.

Trust we finally have a consensus within two main political parties to form a coalition government, even though the partners continue to tread cautiously by visibly leaving an opening to blame the partner, in case the experiment or the performance falters - by no means a healthy note to start on. However, at the same time it is a sort of a welcome development in the sense that at least the looming political uncertainty somewhat seems minimised and the new economic managers can finally start focusing on the main issue of Pakistan: Economy. Sad as it may sound, the irony is that none of the main political parties actually contested the recent elections on the basis of shoring up the economy or in other words absent from their rhetoric cum sloganeering were any tangible or prudent solutions to take Pakistan out its current economic impasse; election campaigning for almost everyone was instead more of a moaning, blame game and a mud-slinging exercise. Meaning, the underlying concern in all this is that how serious can anyone be with a cause who has in reality not come to the forefront championing it? One genuinely feels that to keep the new government focused essentially on economic resurrection, institutions like the IMF and SIFC will play a crucial role and perhaps one or two more similar sector specific apex bodies need to be added to this list to ensure that policymaking remains in a financial straight jacket.

For any student of economic history, only a government that carries a clear economic ideology can actually take its country to the next stage of development growth and prosperity. We have seen that even in less than perfect democracies, once the leaders singlemindedly made economic development as their primary passion their respective countries very quickly transitioned from developing to developed. Examples are numerous: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, UAE, Qatar, China and of late our own neighbour, India. The story began with Manmohan Singh who unshackled India by shoring up its private sector to the forefront and in the process transitioning India from a closed economy to one that was ready to business with the world and become a part of the globalisation process taking shape at the time. And now its current BJP government, despite its horrendous record on human rights, religious freedom, adhering of international charters and on ensuring equitable national inclusion, appears to be taking ‘Economy India’ to previously unthinkable levels; albeit regrettably though, lost or being overlooked in this glory of economic stardom are all its sins being committed against both, humanity and the very sanctity of respecting international charters. Anyway, in essence, what BJP is doing this time is to approach the upcoming Indian general elections very differently by not focusing on the issues and unkept promises that have plagued India since 1947, but instead by boldly touting and relying on its commitment to ring further economic reforms in order to see to it that India remains on a sustainable path of economic development and that it does not lose the present growth momentum over the coming years - more like conducting a referendum on its economic policies thus far and on the belief of the Hindu majority in its economic agenda.

What this time is being talked about in the upcoming Indian elections are people centric initiatives like the Aadhar or the demonetising of the Indian economy to make it fall in line with international financial principles or the Jandhan (no-frills bank account) or on how to further facilitate the Indian private sector in unleashing even more global mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Interestingly, the opposition in the Congress led alliance, also seems to be following suit; like some sort of a greater convergence between the two main political parties/alliances on economic reforms and on that the process of economic progress should not be held hostage, regardless! Sadly, very unlike what we see at home with the shenanigans on a letter writing contest for political purposes to the global financial institutions! Of late the UPA (Congress led United Party Alliance) has released a ‘Black Paper’ on how in reality most of the economic ideas that the NDA (BJP led National Democratic Alliance) is taking credit for are in reality its initiatives and why Manmohannomics is more beneficial for the Indians across the board rather than the Modinomics, which predominantly thrives on concentration of wealth and economic exclusion. NDA on the hand is saying that even if one buys on UPA’s claims, the proof lies in successful implementation and this is where no one can match its record. Importantly, the pleasant development in all this is that the conversation this time is not around pre-poll populism, but on who can offer better economic governance for people’s welfare. Something that even our political diaspora at home also needs to comprehend and could benefit from!

Dr Kamal Monnoo

The writer is an entrepreneur and economic analyst. Email: kamal.monnoo@ gmail.com

The writer is an entrepreneur and economic analyst. He can be contacted at kamal.monnoo@gmail.com

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