Depleting foreign reserves

Apropos reports published about depleting foreign reserves, increase of foreign debts and its impact on our economy and national security.

It is time for sanity to prevail and austerity measures adopted by every state institution, if we want to survive as a sovereign independent country, with capability to stand on our feet. Every foreign investor transfers his earning back to country of origin. Foreign Direct Investment which accompanies transfer of technology and acquiring expertise or helps boost our exports is beneficial to Pakistan. However outsourcing basic things like collecting garbage, running educational or health institutions, solid waste management, urban transportation, commercial aviation, safe water projects, etc. which we are capable and have necessary skilled manpower to handle will only deplete dwindling foreign exchange reserves. All that is required is recruitment of best available qualified human resource, strict regulatory controls and competent management with integrity, instead of political cronies or corruption infected paid bureaucracy dominated by mediocrity.

Almost over $8 Billion are being annually remitted by foreign owned airlines and another $ 9 Billion by other investors in fields which we are capable to handle locally. This is an age for specialisation and failure of Nandipur Power project is an ideal example of poor management.

The problem that Pakistan faces are issues of governance and strict regulatory controls by experts in relevant field and failure by government to curtail corruption through oversight and accountability. In developed world, such as US, Europe etc. the State first acquired capability to have regulatory controls by hiring best qualified specialists in relevant field before it promoted privatisation. Problem in underdeveloped Third World such as Pakistan is with bureaucracies tasked to perform regulatory functions, which are only trained in administrative skills. Rampant unchecked corruption, financial indiscipline and political interference with no inbuilt accountability systems further worsen the problem. For example if we were to study the road, rail and commercial aviation industry of a developing countries like Turkey or Singapore, it is the State itself which owns national airlines which are competing with other regional Gulf based airlines like Emirates, Etihad, Qatar etc. all owned and subsidised by their respective states.

MALIK TARIQ ALI

Lahore



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