Pakistan Rupee could touch 250 vis-a-vis dollar within a year: Noted economist

NEW DELHI: A prominent economist in Pakistan has alleged that the government has “very little say” in shaping of the economy and that the local rupee could touch 250/dollar within a year.

At a recent meet in Karachi on the state of the economy, Kaiser Bengali, who has worked with several federal and state governments in Pakistan, said, “We currently have a finance minister and governor of State Bank who have come from abroad. Since 1993, we have had these ‘fly-in, fly-out’ consultants…”

He accused the Imran Khan government of having minimal say in shaping Pakistan’s economy on the lines of the country’s foreign policy and described the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a product of the new “East India company“.

“Our political governments don’t have a say in foreign policy, and now they have very little say in the economy. The economy has been taken over by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank,” he alleged.

Pakistan recently reached an agreement with the IMF over a $6 billion bailout package to help prop up its public finances and a slowing economy.

To a question on CPEC, he said, “It is not a game changer, it is game over… at first, we have to fight with one East India Company, ‘World Bank’, which is already ruining the country, then we have to worry about another East India Company in making.”

Bengali has over 35 research publications in his name in national and international journals and is author/editor of eight books on subjects ranging from unemployment, inequality and poverty to education, water, gender and regional development.

Pakistan’s principal opposition party the PPP has also raised objections to the recent deal between the IMF and the Imran Khan government. “Since the government has prorogued both houses of parliament, what we know of the deal, we know through the media. The government must immediately clarify the terms of the deal before the parliament and the people of Pakistan,” suggested PPP parliamentary leader in the senate, Sherry Rehman, in a statement issued earlier this week.

Meanwhile, amid strong criticism, Khan has convened a meet to discuss IMF’s bailout package. “A 12th IMF bailout since 1980 sums up decades of economic mismanagement in Pakistan. Chronic under-investment has left the country with a limited export base to support growth, while failure to improve tax collection has pushed public debt to elevated levels. The latest IMF bailout package requires economic adjustment not too dissimilar to the past. But with debt levels now much higher and bilateral loans taking on an important role in the country’s rescue, the IMF must ensure its lending standards remain strict,” the Financial Times said in an editorial piece dated May 14.

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