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Silver Lining in Budget Not Parsed, Communication Management Needed, Say Experts

As we had earlier pointed out in several of our reports, effective communication and perception management have been the new government’s major stumbling block.

PKONWEB — Measures taken in the federal budget for enhanced fiscal discipline and meaningful economic management may well pay good dividends in the longer run– notwithstanding several measures taken to enhance short-term revenue shortfalls.

While the long-run measures have their own dynamics and growing pains, the steps are raising fears in nearly all sectors of economy and various segments of the society.

“The Ministry of Information needs remoulding to be a results-oriented arm of the State– it serves as bulwark of an emerging economy’s governance which Pakistan is. When this happens, transformational attributes and the outputs are effectively narrated to stakeholders and the public. The political government doesn’t do this, it’s always under pressure”

Point to note: The budget summarizes formal economy’s 30 to 40 percent of the overall economy) financial transactions the PTI-led government has planned for this year. The rest 60 to 70 percent of the overall economy remains informal– considered strength but an Achilles Heel of the formal economy– the international lending institutions and many independent experts have been pointing out without succeeding to elicit ruling elite’s attention.

As we had earlier pointed out in some of our reports, effective communication and perception management have been the new government’s major stumbling block. Given that a deconstruct/reconstruct strategy is at work– creating a parallax effect, the media and the public remains somewhat uninformed of the goodies in the long run. “The focus remains on onion peeling”, one observer says.

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The essence of this message also emerged from a roundtable session on Federal Budget 2019-20 at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Islamabad, reported The Express Tribune.

Despite the silver lining in the budget, “it was essential to develop a national consensus through effective communication strategy to see off the difficult times, a need that has been sorely overlooked by the people at the helm of affairs.”

The session was addressed by Dr Waqar Masood Khan, former secretary finance, Zafarul Hasan Almas, chief macroeconomics, Planning Commission of Pakistan, Dr Pervez Tahir, former chief economist, Zaheeruddin Dar, economic policy analyst, Dr Aneel Salman, HoD, Management Sciences, COMSATS University and Mubarak Zeb Khan journalist.

Dr Masood indicated some silver linings in the presented budget stating that it could improve fiscal and economic management if handled wisely, a need that was severely lacking in the past three fiscal years of 2015-16, 2017-18 and even 2018-19 – the initial incumbency period of the new government.

He urged on the need of developing a national consensus on the economic challenges with an effective communication strategy, which he found nearly non-existent in the government’s policy so far.

According to some experts PKonweb asked for comments, the general observations were similar. “The Ministry of Information needs remoulding to be a results-oriented arm of the State– it serves as bulwark of an emerging economy’s governance which Pakistan is. When this happens, transformational attributes and the outputs are effectively narrated to stakeholders and the public. The political government doesn’t do this, it’s always under pressure,” they said.