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CARBS Business Review

Pakistan’s Economic Crisis: Unveiling the Causes, Impacts, and Remedies

Dr. Ali Sajjad

30 October, 2023

Pakistan Economic Crises - carbs blog

Pakistan has been grappling with an economic crisis in recent years, which is marked by high rates of inflation, a declining currency, and an increasing debt load. The country’s population has been significantly impacted by this crisis, with many people finding it challenging to meet their financial obligations. This blog will cover the reasons behind the current economic crisis, its effects on the nation, and potential solutions to the problem.

Causes of Crises

1 – External debt

Pakistan’s current economic crisis is primarily caused by its external debt, which amounts to $126.3 billion. The country owes this debt to a wide range of creditors, including multilateral organizations, Paris Club nations, private and commercial lenders, and China. The growth of this debt load can be attributed to several factors such as excessive borrowing, slow growth, weak exports, and currency depreciation. Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves are currently around $4 billion, which is insufficient to pay for even one month’s worth of imports. As a result, there is a significant chance that the nation will not be able to pay its debts in full

2 – Inflation

Pakistan is currently facing a decline in the purchasing power of its populace and an increase in poverty due to a record-breaking inflation rate of over 25%. The rising costs of food, fuel, electricity, and imported goods are the primary causes of this inflation.  The government’s expansionary fiscal and monetary policies, which were implemented to boost the economy in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, have further exacerbated the inflationary pressure.

3 – Energy Crises

Pakistan is currently dealing with a persistent energy crisis that has seriously hampered its ability to produce goods and expand its economy. The country relies heavily on imported petrol and oil, which are expensive and prone to price volatility. Unfortunately, poor management, corruption, and a lack of investment in renewable energy sources have resulted in insufficient and inefficient domestic energy production. As a result, Pakistan frequently experiences load shedding and power outages, which negatively affect millions of homes and businesses. The country’s GDP has decreased by up to 4% recently as a result of energy shortages.

4 – Political Instability

Pakistan’s financial instability is significantly impacted by its political instability. Frequent changes in government, governance, and political unrest have weakened foreign and domestic investor confidence. This has led to a decrease in foreign direct investment (FDI), causing capital flight and lowering the likelihood of economic growth. Exchange rate volatility, caused by political unrest, harms businesses that depend on stable exchange rates for international trade. Inconsistent economic policies and budgetary constraints lead to budget deficits and increased borrowing, elevating the risk of sovereign debt crises. Insecurity issues related to political instability, including terrorism and civil unrest, disrupt economic activities, deter foreign investment, and damage infrastructure, collectively contributing to economic and financial instability in Pakistan. The political uncertainty has undermined the confidence of investors, creditors, and the public in the government’s ability to address the economic challenges.

Consequences of Crises

1 – Social unrest

Due to the economic hardships the Pakistani people have experienced, there is a great deal of unhappiness and frustration, which has taken many different forms, including protests, strikes, riots, and violence. The social fabric and confidence in the government have been damaged by the rising cost of living, unemployment, inequality, and insecurity. The nation’s stability and unity are in danger as a result of the economic crisis’s escalation of ethnic, sectarian, and regional tensions.

2 – Security challenges

Pakistan’s current economic crisis has significantly weakened its capacity to address both internal and external security challenges. The country is currently grappling with a resurgence of terrorism perpetrated by various militant groups. These groups have exploited the economic crisis to further their nefarious activities, posing a significant threat to Pakistan’s stability and security.

3 – Regional implications

Significant effects of Pakistan’s economic crisis on regional stability and growth. Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation with a population of more than 200 million, is very significant from a geopolitical standpoint. The potential collapse or instability of Pakistan’s economy could have significant repercussions for its neighbors and the global community.

Solutions to the Crisis

To address the economic crisis in Pakistan, the government and international community must act urgently and comprehensively. The following are some possible solutions:

1 – Debt relief

Pakistan may think about asking for debt relief from its creditors to lessen payback pressure and spend resources for growth. The government can negotiate a favorable debt rescheduling or restructuring with its creditors. Pakistan might also receive crucial financial aid and policy direction by asking the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for help in restarting the halted bailout program.

2 – Structural reforms

It is essential to put structural changes into place to address the underlying causes of Pakistan’s economic problems. To lower inflation, the budget deficit, and the national debt, the government should implement responsible fiscal and monetary policies. To increase revenue production and boost efficiency, it is essential to improve tax collection and expense management. Additionally, expanding export markets and encouraging the export sector can increase foreign exchange revenues. Reduced reliance on imported oil and gas can be achieved by making investments in the energy sector and the development of renewable energy.

3 – Political dialogue

Pakistan must resolve its political crisis through constructive dialogue and consensus-building. The government and the opposition should engage in a peaceful and productive dialogue to end their confrontation and find a mutually acceptable solution to their differences. The government and the opposition should also work together to address the economic challenges and implement the necessary reforms. Both parties must respect the rule of law, the constitution, and the democratic process to ensure the legitimacy and stability of the political system.

4 – International collaboration

By enlisting the aid of its allies and partners, including China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, and the United States, Pakistan can improve its international collaboration. This may result in financial support, business opportunities, easier commerce, and technological breakthroughs. The government should also improve ties with its neighbors, especially with India and Afghanistan, to promote regional peace and cooperation. By taking part in regional initiatives, Pakistan can gain from regional connection and integration.

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Dr. Ali Sajjad

Dr. Ali Sajjad is currently working as an Assistant Professor at Chaudhary Abdul Rehman Business School, Superior University. From the University of Utara Malaysia, he obtained a PhD in Banking and Finance. Moreover, he is a researcher having years of teaching and research experience. He has several publications and his area of research is accounting, finance, entrepreneurship and Islamic finance.

Disclaimer

Please note that all opinions, views, statements, and facts conveyed in the article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of Chaudhry Abdul Rehman Business School (CARBS). CARBS assumes no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content. When interpreting and applying the information provided in the article, readers are advised to use their own discretion and judgement.

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