‘ABSOLUTELY NO POLITICS in Economics’ (Video)

Pakistan faces economic crisis, an opinion political and economic observers and analysts from all sides hold -sans blame game. In this Facebook video clip, @Faiez Hassan Seyal (an economist by education; management consultant by profession) takes a look at 15 decisions that he says need to be made in order to strengthen the country’s ‘dying economy’. The excerpt of “What Next Program” WhatsApp shared with us, starts with Seyal calling for “absolutely no politics in economics”:

This week, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission held both in-person and virtual discussions in Doha, Qatar with Pakistani authorities. At the conclusion of the mission, IMF mission head Nathan Porter issued a statement which said that on the fiscal side, there have been deviations from the policies agreed in the last review, partly reflecting the fuel and power subsidies announced by the authorities in February. The team emphasized the urgency of concrete policy actions, including in the context of removing fuel and energy subsidies and the FY2023 budget, to achieve program objectives.”

Focus seems to be on fuel and energy subsidies usages by political governments. Such subsidies have kept ruling parties relevant among their support bases -through Pakistani version of democracy and parties’ use/abuse of political economy, however, it has been at the peril of the national economy. So IMF demanding removal/curtailment of such subsidies is whether right or wrong, is to me the question I would ask myself beyond partisan lines.

In other words, in order to address the right or wrong of IMF’s take or Seyal’s “absolutely no politics in economics”, major parties and the State have to be generally on the same page. This, in my view may be on the horizon -whether it is populist or not, or whether individually we like it or not, is morphing into a matter of diminishing import among thought leaders and the civil society.

“The cross-hair is on weighing sense and sensibilities,” said an observer. “Traditional politicians and elite fail to understand (that)…the educated middle-class has risen against the status quo,” a senior State official says.

Irshad Salim, Karachi