SOCIAL attitudes and economic development go hand in hand. Pakistan’s politics is in an extremely divisive state, and its economy is in a mess. Soaring inflation has taken people by storm. Despite the gloomy situation, the government seems confident in meeting the economic challenges and is committed to lessening the burden on the national exchequer.

Though the decision by the government to reduce the fuel quota for cabinet members and government employees by 40 per cent, ban medical treatment abroad from the national exchequer, restrict the purchase of vehicles, disallow lunch and hi-tea at offices, etc., are steps in the right direction, they are not enough. If austerity is to be adopted, a national action plan must be chalked out.

The economy is in dire need of lenders’ support without which, most economists fear, the country could face a default-like situation due to political uncertainty. Hence, the opposition needs to understand that dissolution of assemblies and demand for elections in the current situation will neither address the plight of the people nor solve the economic problems of the country.

Even if the assemblies are dissolved, the caretaker government will be faced with the challenge of making do with a seriously struggling economy. Therefore, the opposition must welcome and appreciate government’s offer and come forward to be an active part of the dialogue process for the sake of the country’s progress and development.

Active citizens can change the country for the better. Given the challenging economic situation, the most important thing we can do is to change our attitude because a little change in attitude can make a big difference. What most people forget is that though we cannot control the stimulus, we can control the response.

There is a dire need to balance income with expenditure. We cannot take control of our expenditure until we commit to doing so. Instead of taking a long hard look at our incomes, we need to control our expenditure and understand where the money is going and where it can be budgeted better. The more we ignore the situation, the worse it will get. It is better to be late than never.

Syed Ali Qasim
Lahore

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2022

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