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‘Big bang opportunity’

March 22, 2013

THIS is apropos of the article ‘Big bang opportunity’ by Dr Ishrat Husain (March 11) wherein he cited the Mexican president’s reforms to alter the country’s economic structure.

The president proposed reforms in four sectors of the economy, namely energy, tax, labour and education.

Dr Husain has proposed that the coming general elections provide an opportunity to the newly-elected (coalition) government to introduce ‘big bang’ package of economic reforms in ‘energy, tax and tariff, privatisation and restructuring of public enterprises, education, technology, competition and the civil services.’

Dr Husain expects that the economic reforms would, subject to political stability, usher in a favourable business and investment climate. This, according to him, is big bang economic reforms, provided a fundamental shift takes place in our collective mindset and a witch-hunt against the outgoing government is avoided.

Dr Husain proposes a structural change with a view to boosting confidence of investors, though also proposing to change the general mood of the country, while another expert aims at providing minimum conditions of dignified life to the majority of the people, linked to the core human values.

The society of Pakistan will not temper down unless the ‘big bang’ reforms are carried out by a combination approach of both the learned scholars. I would replace the heading of ‘big bang’ by a comprehensive social change. I foresee a strong movement for a social change a few months after the general elections.

This is because I do not see that the elite rule coming in the wake of expected elections may carry out the reforms which serve the ruling classes such as privatisation and restructuring of public enterprises and, to a degree, education and energy. But I wonder whether the future government would be able to collect tax and be able to get out of the dictates of the IMF and set a system capable of providing the minimum condition of dignified life to the majority of the people. It is too big a task for the major parties contesting the elections.