Imran Khan calls for ‘out of the box’ reforms

Khan promised his audience that his administration would protect civil servants from such external pressures and set up a merit-based system. (Photo courtesy: Imran Khan/Facebook)
Updated 14 September 2018
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Imran Khan calls for ‘out of the box’ reforms

  • The prime minister says that Pakistan’s civil bureaucracy, once the pride of the nation, suffers now from “degeneration”
  • Khan said that overseas Pakistanis had “a lot of money,” though they did not want to invest it in their country of origin since they lacked faith in its governance system

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan emphasized the need to improve the governance structure of the country while addressing a group of civil servants in Islamabad on Friday.
He said that Pakistan’s civil bureaucracy was once the pride of the nation, though it suffered “degeneration” due to political interference.
He also promised his audience that his administration would protect civil servants from such external pressures and set up a merit-based system.
“I am not concerned about your political affiliation,” he noted. “I only expect you to perform your duties diligently.”
Khan recognized that Pakistan was facing significant economic challenges, though he described the situation as an opportunity to come up with “out-of-the-box” policy reforms.
However, he noted that his administration would not be able to accomplish much if the country’s civil bureaucracy did not properly implement its policies.
The prime minister said that corruption had destroyed the country, claiming that previous administrations had ruined state institutions to siphon off money and fill their coffers.
Admitting that the government was facing huge financial predicaments, he said that overseas Pakistanis had “a lot of money,” though they did not want to invest it in their country of origin since they lacked faith in its governance system.
He said that Pakistan could become a rich country within a brief span of two years and break out of the debt trap if it managed to address its governance problems.
At present, Khan noted, Pakistan’s debt stood at Rs30 trillion ($241 billion). He also noted that it was important to deal with rampant corruption and move toward a robust process of accountability in the country.


Pakistan stock market jubilant as country receives $1bn from KSA

Updated 19 min 29 sec ago
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Pakistan stock market jubilant as country receives $1bn from KSA

  • Benchmark KSE 100 index gained 66 points to close at 41,352 level
  • Receipt of first installment from $6bn Saudi bailout package stabilizes currency, dealers say

KARACHI: Bulls in Pakistan’s stock market celebrated receiving $1 billion, the first tranche from Saudi Arabia’s bailout package, with the benchmark KSE 100 index gaining 66 points to close at 41,352 against Monday’s loss of 307 points.
The installment eased the pressure on the Pakistani rupee, too, in both the open and inter-bank markets. “Receipt of $1 billion tranche of financial assistance from Saudi Arabia to ease external account crises, recovery in global crude prices, upbeat data on exports, remittances and surging local cement and fertilizer prices played a catalyst role in bullish close at Pakistan Stock Market,” Ahsan Mehanti, Chief Executive of Arif Habib Corporation, said.
Pakistan’s share market was volatile last week as investors continued to remain on the back foot, wary of Morgan Stanley Capital International’s (MSCI) Semi‐Annual Index Review, which was published on November 13. Later during the week, after a confirmation by the Saudi envoy that the Kingdom would release $3 billion in the next few days — from the $6 billion bailout package promised to Pakistan — investors’ confidence was back on track.
On Tuesday, 167 million shares worth Rs7.6 billion were traded on the equity market. “Stocks showed recovery as investors weighed government austerity measures and resistance over IMF terms for a bailout package,” Mehanti said.
However, no major fluctuation was witnessed in the currency market even as dealers said the inflow of the Saudi bailout money had stabilized the market which is trading at Rs134 against the dollar.
“The currency market is under pressure due to a larger gap as compared to the inflows,” Zafar Paracha, General Secretary of Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan, told Arab News.
“The inflow has given moral strength to the bulls as the market was in a depressed mode due to the large gap which the country needs to fill [in terms of its] external payments,” he said.
Even though Finance Minister Asad Umar has declared that “there is no fiscal emergency and balance of payment crisis is over,” the country needs $12 billion to fund its external payment obligations.
“The Saudi assistance has minimized the specter of a further weakness of the Pak Rupee against US dollar and in fact has stabilized the market to large extent,” Malik Bostan, President of Forex Association of Pakistan told Arab News.
“There were talks in the market that Pakistan won’t get anything from KSA but tranche has dispelled the impression. An additional inflow of remaining $2 billion from the KSA in the next two months would strengthen the currency market,” he said.
The first installment from Saudi Arabia received on Monday has strengthened the country’s position in terms of its foreign exchange reserves from $7.48 billion, till November 9, to around $8.4 billion on Tuesday.
Pakistan has been negotiating with its allies ­­-- including KSA, UAE, and China – for monetary assistance to overcome the current account deficit. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s economic managers are also negotiating with the International Monitory Fund (IMF) for another loan to meet the economic challenges. Though the exact quantum of IMF loan has not been determined, the finance minister last week said that the country may need $5 to $6 billion from the global financial body.