Saturday, March 04, 2023
KARACHI: Former federal minister Miftah Ismail on Saturday said that the restoration of Pakistan’s economy was a "difficult" task and hoped for God to have mercy on the country.
Miftah, during an address to an event in the port city, said the economic recovery was a daunting and "very difficult task" and that “sacrifices” would have to be made to navigate the country out of the ongoing economic crisis.
The former finance minister said despite the fact that powers were devolved to provinces under the 18th Amendment, funds still do not reach the lower levels.
He said that the federal government must reduce its expenses and lamented that the provincial government does not collect taxes, adding that the current state of the economy is not due to mistakes made in one year, but the collective result of 75 years.
Miftah said that 87% of Pakistanis do not get as much food as they should, and in districts where water is dirty, children are physically weak.
"Children living in the villages of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Punjab have been in crisis for 70 years," he said. He compared the country’s progress to that of its neighbour.
“India will have IT exports worth 150 billion dollars this year,” he said, elaborating that there are 23 IT campuses in India today. He said things must change for Pakistan to prosper.
After COVID-19, Pakistan got a lot of concessions, but not enough to solve its problems. "By giving money to the provinces, the federation is already in a loss," he said.
He asserted that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government went against the agreement it made with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) — putting the country in jeopardy.
"The IMF agreement was broken by selling petrol and diesel at cheaper rates," he said, reiterating that he went to jail because of former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
He further said that external debt aside, Pakistan is now also stuck in the clutches of local debt.
"The children of government schools are failing in science and mathematics,” he lamented, adding that no policy could be developed successfully without education.
"We have no intention to form a party, we are in the government and know that nothing will happen without changing the system," he added.