Our Announcements

Not Found

Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here.

Archive for category Economic Hitmen

Pakistan: A Need for Clarity in light of the Confessions Of An Economic Hitman (Deception of IMF / World Bank)

Pakistan: A Need for Clarity in light of the Confessions Of An Economic Hitman (Deception of IMF / World Bank)

Saeed A. Malik.

There is much that Pakistan needs to pull itself out of the hole it finds itself in. Among these is the utmost need for clarity on the following questions:

  1. What has happened to Pakistan?

  2. Why did this happen?

  3. What should be expected to follow?

  4. What is the way out?

Unless clear and precise answers to the above are forthcoming, the way forward cannot be determined. And losing our way in the dark of the night will only increase our pain and add to our troubles. So trying to find answers to these questions the best we can, should at least be attempted.

  1. What has happened to Pakistan?

If a person owes more money than he has the resources to pay back his debt, technically he can be said to be bankrupt. So is the case with states.

This is the closest Pakistan has come to national bankruptcy. Thus far the efforts of the government have succeeded to buy time to set the national house in order. There are goals set for the future. And to the achievement of these goals, our hopes are tied.

But there is no certainty as yet that these goals will be achieved.

Pakistan has borrowed even more to gain time in order to prevent a total shipwreck and to plan its way out of the morass. It had no other option.

From now until we turn the corner therefore, our national security must remain in the most parlous state that it has ever been. This must be very clear to all.

  1. Why did this happen?

We are supposed to be a parliamentary democracy. We elect people who are sworn to defend the highest national interest. Each of these people who offer themselves for elections must spend at least Rs ten crores to have any chance of winning. When they win, it is their first goal to recover what they have spent in the process. Then they must make a hefty profit on this investment. Thus the very system is rooted in illegal money-making, out and out corruption, and subversion of the rule of law. And yet we insist on calling this system a democracy.

The elected members of parliament cannot recover their investment and then go on to make a profit on it, without help from the bureaucrats. So they subvert the bureaucracy. Next, they must indemnify themselves against the possibility of facing criminal proceedings on account of their crimes of corruption. To ensure this all law enforcement agencies and the judiciary must also be subverted. Concurrently with this, the political opposition and the media must be made friendly. They make a partnership with the first and buy the second. And ultimately they aim for the greatest immunity of all i.e the certainty to be elected perpetually. This they manage by mangling the constitution.

This is precisely what has happened to Pakistan. What ought to have been a democracy, turned out to be a vast criminal enterprise. Every national institution, except the armed forces, was co-opted, and then destroyed in the process. And also destroyed along with these institutions was the value system which holds any halfway decent society together. 

A system in which one must first invest to get elected, and then make a profit on this investment, has to be founded on the legitimation of plunder. And this leads to the fattening of the leaders and emptying of the national treasury. The already poor are ground into dust, and the middle classes are pushed into poverty.

To expect a  system founded on its opposition to the rule of law to blossom into a democracy, can only be the expectation of an idiot. The system is designed to promote crime. This is exactly what befell Pakistan. On this, there must be total clarity.

But the question that will not easily be put to rest is, whether it was insatiable greed alone which drove the Zardari-Sharif to combine to inflict rape on their motherland, or was there some other force propelling them in this direction as well.

 To get an answer to this we need to examine the case of Iran. There are a number of motivating factors driving the U.S policy against Iran. But the main driver of this policy is Israel’s central, Yinon-driven obsession with Iran i.e to destroy any Muslim country in the middle east which could potentially challenge Israeli hegemony in this region.

Iran has been groaning under decades of sanctions. The aim is to bankrupt this state so that the pain inflicted on the common man brings him out on the street, and this brings about a regime change.

 

 

Pillaging the World. The History and Politics of the IMF

 

 

But Iran does not even have the rudiments of a bomb as yet, while Pakistan has hundreds of them, as well as proven delivery systems. Why are there no sanctions on Pakistan, which is not only potentially a far greater challenge to Israel, but additionally it has done the most to undermine the “containment of China policy” by its full support for the CPEC, which will bring China directly into the middle east?

The answer should be clear as daylight. And this answer is that when you have your team of economic hit men directly ruling the roost in Pakistan, they will do a far quicker job of bringing the country to its knees than any number of sanctions could!

The reader needs to just examine the ease with which loan after the loan was extended to Pakistan for the last ten years, without bringing under scrutiny our country’s ability to repay the same! 

And this is precisely what the role of an Economic Hitman is defined as i.e take the target country to a stage where it no longer has the ability to repay its loans. Once there, such a country’s arm can be twisted to till it surrenders its sovereignty. See the attached video below.

  1. What should be expected to follow?

For the moment Pakistan’s economic situation has left it few options but to borrow more and to print currency to get by. This is directly responsible for the inflation Pakistan is experiencing i.e there is more currency in the country than there are goods to buy, so that the value of the currency is depreciating, while that of the goods is appreciating relative to it.

But very soon all employers, including the government, will have to revise the pay structure of its employees so that people get a livable wage. For this, it will have to print more money. And this will have to be repeated every few months. And the more is the currency that gets printed, the lower the value of money will fall, and the more expensive will the goods become. 

And this is exactly what has happened to the dollar rate. It will keep rising in value in inverse proportion to the fall in the value of the Pakistani rupee i.e as the value of the rupee falls, so that of the dollar will increase.

So unless something spectacular happens to save our hides, we are on our way to hyperinflation. And what follows this is hyper-instability. And this is a frightening prospect.

What makes the situation worse is that a global recession in 1020 is almost a certainty.  And as per economist Nouriel Roubini, if there is a war on Iran, this could result in the first global depression since 1929.

Thus there is little hope for the situation in Pakistan turning around in a year, or two years, or three.

This needs to be foreseen. 

So this is where the Zardari-Sharif machine and their teams of hit men have left Pakistan. That this slide occurred on the watch of two army chiefs, who held ultimate de facto responsibility for national security, makes me retch.

  1. What is the way out?

Nothing in the short term can help ease the economic situation of Pakistan than speeding up work on the CPEC. Additionally, China needs requesting to set up some industries in Pakistan on an urgent basis. Chinese interests in Pakistan will make it likely that they will agree to help out Pakistan. But they will think over this twice unless Pakistan has a strong government and a considerably more efficient bureaucracy in place. And most importantly, China would like Pakistan to be first embedded solidly in the pro-China camp.

It must be quite clear to all that Hafeez Shaikh and company are products of the Chicago School’s economic thinking. They have been schooled to push the neo-liberal economic agenda. It is absolutely essential for Pakistan to get an alternative view on all the economic plans they have crafted. No point wading into what might well turn out to be another economic minefield without first having it reexamined from an alternate point of view.

Be very clear on how to deal with the business community. No raids. No random arrests. It will pay to listen to their genuine grievances and to address them before taking any action against them.

Stolen assets need to be recovered, and hidden ones documented.

The principle that needs to be adopted is that if the people who have plundered Pakistan and inflicted such unbearable pain on its wretched millions do not return stolen assets, they shall not be allowed to enjoy the fruits of their ill-gotten wealth either. No deals, no “production orders”, no A or B class in jail. Let them be treated as the thieves that they are. All their wealth should be confiscated by the state e.g Asif Zardari’s 19 sugar mills etc fall in this category.

And all such people who have not returned stolen assets, should not be allowed to leave the country even after they have completed their jail terms. And those against whom prima facie evidence of wrongdoing exists, but who have yet to be indicted because of the overstretched state resources to do this, should at the very least be put on ECL.

If this is meticulously done, those who have undocumented wealth will on their own begin to come forward to pay their dues. 

Broadening the tax base and the system of gathering taxes has to be improved. A lot will depend upon how FBR functioning is improved. And this is a whole new subject.

How to repatriate assets held abroad will be the real problem, but there are ways to do this as well. No country would want Pakistan to be pushed against the wall to the extent that it will be forced to sell off some of its defense technologies in order to survive. If they SERIOUSLY suspect this, they will become amenable to repatriate both our criminals hiding among them, as wealth as Pakistan’s stolen millions. But this will happen only if China is standing squarely behind Pakistan. 

This drive will have to begin with tightening up NAB. This should begin with bringing Choudhary Qamar Zaman on trial for deliberately facilitating mega-crooks to go free. Begin this by bringing charges against him for the way he handled the Hudaibya case. If this is done, it shall serve notice to the rest of NAB, which needs to be done if NAB is to function optimally.

From all of the above, it should be quite clear that the government can do little to give immediate economic and financial relief to the people of Pakistan, beyond setting the right direction, so that each passing day brings about an improvement. However, what the government can do, without any additional expenditure, is to significantly improve governance. For this to come about, all that is really needed is to weed out the worst officers from all institutions, and place, promote, empower, and support the very best.

Pakistan does not have the financial capital to fall back on. Yet it has reserves of human capital, which it can tap to bring about a significant improvement in governance. Greater reserves of this human capital lie lost in the ranks of the retired, than in those of the serving, which have largely been infected by the rot which spread in the last ten years. It is for the government to set aside many of the rules governing employment and massively requisition the services of such retired officers whose claim to fame was ability and integrity, and who are still in reasonable health to serve the state.

The sad thing, however, is, that even with the limited supply of very good officers which the government can deploy in certain areas to improve governance, this has not been done. One’s take is that on the subject of governance, the performance of the present government is even poorer than the outgoing one. And this must have taken some doing!

But the reason for this is again the “system”. All MNAs and MPAs are interested in having DCs and SPs of choice posted in their constituencies. Their prime interest is not good governance, but that of exercising control.. Thus the system has made the PM hostage blackmail by the legislators, whether these belong to his own party, or belong to his affiliates.

And this is the central problem. Pakistan is forced to sustain a political system which is directly responsible for the ills and maladies the state and its people are suffering from. It is a system which is antithetical to the demands of good government but must be borne nonetheless. Pakistan is in the unhappy position of trying to clean out the village well, without first fishing out the dead dog which is the cause of the pollution. The dog is this very system. The well cannot be cleaned as long as the dog is there. Pakistan is grappling with the direst emergency of its existence, and trying to combat it, pinning its hopes on a dead dog!

Only when there is absolute clarity on this issue can Pakistan move purposefully ahead. This is an emergency situation and must be combated as one. The constitution was deliberately mangled to remove all remedies against such a situation. But the Supreme Court exists. The PM should resort to S.C for an in camera hearing, to lay before it the reality of our national security, and how it has been undermined. He should make a plea for the formation of a national government by the President of Pakistan to tide us through this period of national emergency and to restore the fortunes of the state.

Each day that passes with the government trying to address the situation with tools not adequate to it, is a day lost. And each day the dog stinks worse.

Confessions Of An Economic Hitman

What is an economic hitman? 

Cenk Uygur and John Perkins, hosts of The Conversation, break it down. 

MORE TYT: https://tyt.com/trial

https://youtu.be/t8ZEFpHGFZA

Preview YouTube video Confessions Of An Economic Hitman

 

 

, , ,

No Comments

The budget – or a beggar’s dilemma By Umair Jamal

The budget – or a beggar’s dilemma

Same sob-story – different year

 

“Dar’s ministry, having understood that Pakistan cannot meet the conditions of the IMF regarding employing tough tax and other reforms, has knocked on Beijing’s door, which is willing to give Islamabad loans and bailouts but with conditions that perhaps doesn’t impact Pakistan’s fiscal deficit in the short run.”

 

The economic survey that was released by the finance ministry ahead of the final budget of the current government, heading towards the next general elections, has been heralded as a remarkable accomplishment.

The country’s finance minister seemed jubilant when he quoted the fiscal year’s growth rate at 5.3%. The government has cited the growth rate as the highest achieved in at least last nine years. If one is to closely follow the indicators mentioned in the economic survey, it becomes evident that the numbers and performance indicators remain similar as those which were presented during the last year. However, the promises made by the government last year have been presented with the mere twist of facts, figures and by quoting performance in inflated terms.

Let’s decipher some of the indicators.

The government has claimed that the overall inflation rate was contained to 4.09%. However, the ministry has not clarified the source and basis of this suggestion: what factors were taken into account while arriving at this number? How can the government with the population figures that are based on a 20 years old census can accurately claim any statistics regarding the fall or increase in the country’s inflations rate? If one is to assume that inflation rate has not increased further, as the government claims, that means inflation continues to remain as high as it was during the previous year.

 

 

 

The finance minister, Ishaq Dar, has maintained that Pakistan’s economy has surpassed $300 billion. Dar has failed from explaining that what percentage of this economy is based on borrowed money and loan? Moreover, if the government’s optimism is to be taken as an indicator of growth than the ruling party needs to clarify that how many investments in this regard, and growth was generated by the private investors, small and big, which are hardly a result of the government’s efforts. A large sum of this number, that the government claims were added during the last fiscal year, has come due to the foreign investments whose nature remains beyond scrutiny, for the government has clearly shown reluctance toward making public any of its dealings, primarily with China, that happens to the newest addition to Pakistan’s loan ridden economy.

One of the most interesting aspects of the economic survey was the government’s claim that the fiscal deficit of Pakistan has registered a decrease, from 4.8 to 4.2 percent. While the federal minister quoted cherry picked facts to support his government’s claims of having secured a decrease in the country’s fiscal deficit, the economic realities on the ground point an alternative story: Pakistan today is more burdened with foreign loans and borrowed money than any time in Pakistan’s past history. For instance, the released economic survey doesn’t comprehensively mentions whether the investments and loans coming from China are part of the calculations upon which the government has based its claims of having decreased Pakistan’s fiscal deficit?

There are two major reasons that defy Dar’s claims regarding the decrease of the country’s fiscal deficit. First, Dar’s claim that Pakistan doesn’t need any more loans from the IMF comes in the wake of Pakistan’s growing economic reliance on Chinese loans. Put it in this way: Dar’s ministry, having understood that Pakistan cannot meet the conditions of the IMF regarding employing tough tax and other reforms, the former has knocked on Beijing’s door, which is willing to give Islamabad loans and bailouts but with conditions that perhaps doesn’t impact Pakistan’s fiscal deficit in the short run. A few weeks ago, China gave Pakistan more than 1 billion dollars in emergency loans to rescue the country from an impending currency crisis. The crisis has aggravated due to the rising imbalance in the country’s imports and exports. Recently, the State Bank of Pakistan released a report that noted that Pakistan’s net reserves have dropped to $17.1 billion in February from $18.9 billion in October 2016 and $25 billion several years ago. Another report recently claimed that “Pakistan is entitled to pay China up to $90 billion in three decades for the $50 billion worth of loan and investment portfolio Beijing rendered to the country.”

Second, apparently, the government at the moment is not considering Chinese loans as part of its fiscal deficit scheme which as the recently released report by Dawn claimed, would be returned back in the form of giving China the control of significant chunks of Pakistan’s domestic economy and industry through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects. However, Dar, on the other hand continues to harp that Pakistan doesn’t need any loans from the IMF, for the country’s economy is rapidly gaining independence. Dar’s claims pose the picture of a bagger’s dilemma where one has to choose between an expansive but pragmatic (IMF) and charming but unviable (China) donor.

Moreover, according to the economic survey and the newly presented budget, Pakistan’s tax collections have increased more than 70 percent in comparison to the previous year. However, the minister of finance has not elaborated that what percentage of these collections were made from the country’s elite class that controls more than half of Pakistan’s economy and continues to defy any regulations that bind them with fair and appropriate tax payments.

It’s unfortunate that the government continues to manipulate facts to showcase a rosy picture of Pakistan’s economy and growth rate which is far-fetched and unrealistic.

Reference

No Comments

Will we be the 16th largest economy in 2050? by Khurram Husain

Will we be the 16th largest economy in 2050?

By

Khurram Husain |

2/16/2017 

A REPORT by PwC has everyone talking due to a claim reportedly made in it that Pakistan will be the world`s 16th largest economy by the year 2050.

The finance minister has gone the extra mile by publicly congratulating the country on the `economic turnaround` affected by his government, citing the PwC report and an opinion piece in Bloomberg by George Mason University`s Professor Tyler Cowen, in which he says that `most of Pakistan`s developments are fairly positive`.

Unfortunately, the finance minister, in his enthusiasm, claimed that Bloomberg has also declared Pakistan as the most underrated economy in the world in its recent report titled Pakistan`s Economy Is a Pleasant Surprise. In f act, the piece in question is not a `report` but an opinion column, and below it, the following disclaimer is clearly featured: `This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

In any case, let`s take the example of the PwC report since it is weightier and the claim being made sounds far more spectacular. The first thing to note is this: the PwC report does not say anywhere that Pakistan is going to be the 16th largest economy in the world by 2050. What it says is that Pakistan has the potential to be the 16th largest economy in the world by 2050. There is an important difference between both claims, and it should be borne in mind before popping any corks.

So the first obvious question to ask is this: what needs to be done in order to unlock this potential? The PwC report does not dwell on Pakistan in any detail. It features extended analyses on Poland, India, China, and Brazil, as well as boxed analyses on Turkey, Nigeria, and Columbia. It pinpoints Vietnam, India and Bangladesh `to be three of the world`s fastest-growing economies` till 2050, and says `Mexico could be larger than the UK and Germany by 2050`. Pakistan only features on a couple of lists presented in the report, showing it as having the potential to become a large economy by 2050 in purchasing power parity terms.

`To realize this growth potential,` the report says at the outset, `emerging market governments need to implement structural reforms to improve macroeconomic stability, diversify their economies away from undue reliance on natural resources (where this is currently the case), and develop effective political and legal institutions`.

Next question to ask is: how do they make their projections? What methodology do they use? The report projects future GDP growth rates based on four variables demographics, or the growth of a working-age population; growth in quality of the workforce, measured through average education levels in the workforce; growth in physical capital stock, measured as new investment minus depreciation of existing stock; and technological progress.

As any of these indicators improve, the projection for that country`s future GDP growth rate goes up. On top of that, they make an assumption about real market exchange rates relative to purchasing power parity rates. So if a country is a food importer, and its exchange rate depreciates significantly over time, that would make its food more expensive, thereby lowering its GDP in purchasing power parity terms.

A significant share of the boost that Pakistan gets in this projection comes from the large growth of its working-age population till 2050, compared to the ageing populations of the advanced industrial West or the advanced countries of the Far East (Japan and Korea for example and China`s workforce will be weighed down in the decades to come due to its one-child policy).

Second, Pakistan is food self-sufficient, which means food prices are relatively immune from international shocks, and below what they are in many other countries at the same level of development. This gives a boost to our GDP in purchasing power parity terms.

And that`s pretty much all folks. This methodology says we should grow rather spectacularly in the decades to come because the sheer number of able-bodied people available to work will increase and we can grow enough food to feed them all while keeping food prices under check. In fact, as per the data in the report, Pakistan has the second largest growth in the number of average working age population till 2050,afterEgypt.

The long story here is that the projections made in the report come with a heavy caveat. In order to unlock this potential, we will need further reforms in our political and institutional systems of rule, as well as diversification of our manufacturing base, increase productivity, and fix our balance of payments to underpin macroeconomic stability.

The short story is that, in our case, the methodology used to make the projections has given us a boost largely on the basis of a growing population.

If we can continue investing in our capital stock at present levels, and educate and feed each of these working-age members of the population at cheap rates, then our economy will have this potential.

The report is not meant to spark national celebrations. It is not even meant as a guide for policymakers. It is mainly aimed at large corporations and is trying to tell their leadership that, over the long run, the trade winds are blowing eastward.

Therefore, in order to position their enterprises to capture the dividends that this large, irreversible shift of economic dynamism towards the east is going to bring, they need to start entering markets like China and India n and solidify their presence in these economies. And in doing so, it uses a very broad brushstroke methodology to highlight the underlying sources of strength in the new centers of dynamism.

Pakistan found itself on the list largely by accident, by virtue of its young population and food self-sufficiency. Perhaps we`ll tap this potential, but let`s not pop any corks just yet.•

The writer is a member of staff.

khurram.husain@gmail.com Twitter: @khurramhusain

Editor’s Note: Even today, Pakistan’s underground tax evaders run economy is bigger than the prevailing economy.

, ,

No Comments

India afraid of Pakistan’s economic stability: Swedish Think Tank

India afraid of Pakistan's economic stability: Swedish thinktank

Swedish think-tank has pointed out that India is afraid of Pakistan’s economic stability through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

According to the report titled “Silk Road Economic Belt considering security implications and the EU-China cooperation prospects”, India does not want China to perform as a mediator in the disputes, a private news channel reported.

“There is considerable concern within India that China, which has been neutral on Kashmir since 1963, can no longer be so now that its economic and security interests in these territories are growing in stake,” says a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) – a Sweden-based think tank.

It further stated that China’s involvement after implementation of CPEC would possibly make it a stakeholder in Kashmir dispute as India does not want to internationalize this matter.

The report stated that India is depressed over the chances of employment in Pakistan after CPEC project.

Reference

,

No Comments

PAKISTAN THE DEPENDENT STATE – PART 1 Samson Simon Sharaf in The Nation

PAKISTAN THE DEPENDENT STATE  –  PART 1

 

 

Samson Simon Sharaf

2016 was a year of mixed achievements. Though theoretically, Pakistan is an independent sovereign democratic state, practically it is tied everywhere with chains. The governance structure of the state is ineffective and manipulated whimsically. The degeneration from a developing to an underdeveloped country is proceeding at a very fast pace. This decline is not attributable to any inherent defects of national power and political economy. It is manmade and artificially articulated to neutralize the many inherent capabilities of Pakistan. This neutralization is based on a premise of a weak and pliant country. Pakistan’s inherent capabilities are deliberately kept underdeveloped. Those that exist are being undermined or maligned in a manner that they do not matter. Pakistan is being strangulated by an apparently benign octopus with nonkinetic ferocity. This is what I called Pakistan’s Present and Future War way back in 2007. This hypothesis was framed by me in 2002 and has not changed since. The war has now entered its most destructive phase.

This series is an expose of how deliberate Pakistan’s meltdown is. In typical Kautilya Strategy, the enemies have reached into the womb and consuming from within. The analysis leads to the conclusion that Pakistan is already a dependent state in most elements of the policy. Economy, the engine that drives a state is now the biggest security threat followed by terrorism and non-performing democracy. Direct threat from India is way down the ladder.

The economic performance was explained ‘between the lines’ report of the State Bank of Pakistan. Tailored to look least critical and circumvent criticism from IMF, World Bank, and analysts, the central bank pointed to some fundamental structural defects beginning FY2016-17. Though such projections may fool the public and parliamentarians, experts have identified the holes in the argument.

 

 

Image Courtesy: Reference

 

Background

The Government is continuously borrowing money from internal and external sources. Therefore, external debt and liabilities (EDL) rose 7.5 per cent to $60.116 billion in 2010-11 as against $55.901 billion in 2009-10, depicting an increase of $4.2 billion, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) indicated in its report.
Public debt also increased to $56.315 billion rose from $52.107 billion. The external debt has risen $711 million in the last quarter of 2010-11. The scheduled bank borrowings increase by 23.8 per cent to $239 million, which were $193 billion in June 2010. In the total EDL, the loan from the IMF grew to $8.94 billion from the same period of last years $8.07 billion.

 

After the end of IMF programme Pakistan’s economic managers have suddenly started reflecting unusual economic indices. This trend points towards a freewheeling policy with no checks from regulators and parliament. Trying to make sense of this berserk behaviour, it begins to dawn why the government wants to put all autonomous regulatory mechanisms under the ministries and why it is legislating new economic laws. The suspicion is that many things akin to PROTECTION OF ECONOMIC REFORMS ACT 1992 are in offing. To know how this Act facilitated money laundering and offshore businesses, read Panama the Marshy Trails (Nation on 12 November 2016). The nightmare has just begun to unravel.

For instance, the report mentions an inflow of US$ 1.1 billion in FDI inflows from China. This lends credence to official claims that forex reserves are rising, growth increasing and fiscal deficits decreasing.  The government is making the nation believe that the economy is resurging, circular debts being contained and energy gap being reduced. We are being made to believe that the new round of investments from CPEC will change the fundamentals of Pakistan’s economy to an export powerhouse in the region. But this is far from true. This single indicator below exposes the hollowness of sustainable economic growth.

US$700 million from $1.1 billion inflow from China is a commercial loan from a Chinese Bank at unknown interest rates to cater for the purchase of Chinese plant equipment. It is a commercial borrowing hidden in the head of FDI. Pakistan at some stage will have to repay this and many other loans like this. One explanation given by critics for such fudging is the drying up of coalition support fund, a reimbursement arrangement shown as remittances in the past. Pakistan’s exports and inward remittances have shown a decrease and not made up for the CSF loss. The international relief in oil prices has been squandered and not translated into improved indices like value addition and exports.  So to build an illusion of growth, the government has plugged the hole with CPEC. This means that rather than making CPEC a viable engine to development, the government is hell bent on mortgaging Pakistan’s future at least to win next elections.

What havoc will such transactions play with structural balances of Pakistan’s economy be anybody’s guess?  Already the IMF has warned Pakistan that if the government does not put in place a comprehensive strategy for reforms, investment, exports and growth such arrangement will create exorbitant debt liabilities. Unlike the five years plans of the past, no comprehensive plan exists. Economic management is on day to day basis through tight controls by the ministry of finance. Economic development models never work like this. This is exactly what happened to Latin American countries during the Cold War and is happening to Africa now. It is also happening in Libya, Iraq, and Syria.

Subtracting the incidental growth created by inflation and consumption, Pakistan’s actual growth is negative. FBR collection has shrunk. In fact, it cannot even cater to debt liabilities. The agriculture sector, the quickest element of national growth is in negative and neglected. This has impacted exports that are mostly agricultural including value added products (textiles etc). These are also hit by the energy shortages. Large scale manufacturing (LSM) is stagnant. Not a single economic index indicates any effort at sustainability. So it is easy for the government to indulge in tied aid, promote consumerism built on imports (tied trade) accumulate bilateral and multilateral loans, borrow commercially from international and national banks, floats bonds and use up all to pay back liabilities (debt trap), plug deficits and support expenses. The cycle goes on and on.

The government borrowed Rs 1079 billion (a turnaround of Rs 1314 billion including paying Rs. 235 billion) from the State Bank of Pakistan during the past six months. This is being dome to cater for budgetary deficits. Once the FDI loans, direct and indirect international and domestic borrowing is combined, it leads to the irresistible conclusion that Pakistan is being led into the  Black Hole of a debt trap that will gradually become impossible to navigate. The government is adding public debt at a rate of Rs 288 billion per month (liability of every Pakistani increasing by Rs. 14,400 per month). Thus the total liabilities of every Pakistani as part of per capita segment of the total loans are not in hundreds of thousand per head but in millions.

Pakistan’s LSM that contributes to home led sustainability has collapsed. From November 2015 to March 2016 LSM recorded a rising trend at 7.6%. By June 2016 it nosedived to zero. The past figures were fudged to please IMF. The ugly conclusion is that LSM is just the tip of a stagnating economy.

These are few but tangible indices indicators. Conspicuously missing is the reflection of the hyped fanfare of CPEC. Military’s efforts in constructing communication highways of CPEC and making Balochistan peaceful are in full gear. But where is the five, ten or twenty-year development plan that shall see Pakistan grow as a self-reliant, export-oriented powerhouse of the region? As of now India is ranked 39th, Sri Lanka 79th and Pakistan a low 122.

This single dissection reasserts my oft-repeated assessment that Pakistan is fast moving towards economic insolvency. The situation is beyond a dependency. Pakistan is moving very fast towards a ‘heavy in debt’; discredited; pliant and non-nuclear state. Got it!

Pakistanis have the right to be dreamers. But dreams cannot be substituted with delusions.

Samson Simon Sharaf

Pakistan Has Mortgaged Airports, Motorways & Buildings to Getting Loans…………….Shame on Country’s Financial Managers

We just hope that our government(s), whether federal or provincial, find other means to improve the economy instead of issuing superficial claims based on such huge amounts of loans

With loans crossing reaching the $75 billion mark, we seriously need to put a stop to this before loans become unpayable and the country defaults.

Pakistan Has Mortgaged These Airports, Motorways & Buildings in order to Get Loans

1) Jinnah International Airport Karachi

2) National Motorways and Highways

3)  Pakistan Television Assets

4)  Radio Pakistan Assets

And more vital assets may be under consideration for a mortgage.

 

Reference: AADIL SHADMAN

For decades, Pakistani governments have been taking loans to fulfill local demands and start new projects. As things stand, Pakistan’s foreign debts have currently crossed the $75 billion mark.

Read More: Pakistan’s External Debt Will Soon Cross a Staggering $75 Billion

In recent times, the loan amounts have reached such highs that not even international or local lending institutions are willing to loan money under simple conditions since they want assurances that their investments won’t go in vain.

For that reason, Pakistani governments have started putting national assets of extremely high value as guarantees (mortgage) in exchange for more loans or otherwise for Sukuk Bonds.

What are Sukuk Bonds?

Sukuk bonds are Islamic bonds. They have structured in such a way that investors get returns without infringing any Islamic law (for example, no interest is charged on such investments). Sukuk represents undivided shares in the ownership of tangible assets relating to special investment activity. In other words, the bond issuing authority purchases an asset and the investors get partial ownership and returns.

The issuer also has to buy the bond back at par value at a later date.

We’ve compiled a list of national assets and the details regarding their mortgage based on official as well as leaked documents in the public domain. The sources have been included in the end.

Let’s take a look at them one by one.

Jinnah International Airport Karachi Mortgaged

Back in 2013, the government used Jinnah International Airport Karachi as security for the Sukuk bonds and raised Rs. 182 billion based on it. The profits for bonds were to be paid using the income from the airport.

The Karachi airport hasn’t been mortgaged just once. Here are all the instances where it has been used as collateral:

  • 2013 was the first year where the airport was put as collateral to borrow Rs. 182 billion.
  • In December 2015, Rs. 117 billion were borrowed against the Karachi airport.
  • In February 2016, Rs. 116.2 billion were raised by putting the airport on a mortgage.
  • A month later, in March 2016, the government used the airport as the underlying asset to borrow another Rs. 80.4 billion.

These amounts were received from local and international institutions and investors.

National Motorways and Highways Mortgaged

Recently, Pakistan government was ready to put up Sukuk bonds in order to raise $500 million from investors but it was oversubscribed at $2.4 billion.

Finally, the government decided to raise $1 billion from foreign investors by mortgaging the Islamabad-Chakwal section of the Islamabad-Lahore (M2) motorway. These bonds are set to mature within 5 years.

Back in 2014, the government pledged the Hafizabad-Lahore section of the M2 motorway to raise another $1 billion in terms of Sukuk Bonds with a 5-year maturity period.

In June 2014, the government borrowed Rs. 49.5 billion by mortgaging the Faisalabad-Pindi Bhatian Motorway (M3).

According to official reports from the Finance Minister and leaked documents from journalist Rauf Klasra the following motorways are already pledged to get loans:

  • Peshawar-Faisalabad motorway
  • Faisalabad-Pindi Bhattian motorway
  • Islamabad-Peshawar motorway
  • Islamabad-Lahore motorway

The news about the above mentioned M2 motorway was also leaked by Rauf Klasra before an official announcement.

Back in 2006, the government decided to pledge most of the national highways and some motorways in order to raise Rs. 6 billion. Islamabad-Peshawar Motorway (M-I), Faisalabad-Multan Motorway (M-4), Islamabad-Murree-Muzaffarabad Dual Carriageway (IMDC), Jacobabad Bypass, D.G.Khan-Rajanpur Highway, Okara Bypass and several other toll-yielding projects were set as security. A consortium of banks provided the loan for seven years.

With this, the trustees own the motorway, all constructions on it, flyovers and interchanges in the case of late payment.

PTV Mortgaged

According to leaked documents, Pakistan government has decided to mortgage all PTV assets in the whole country as collateral for more loans.

The PTV assets are estimated to be worth in billions of rupees at the very least and the national television also holds great importance as far as national security is concerned.

So far there has been no confirmation or denial from the government but considering that these are official documents, the leaks seem authentic. There have been no estimates of how much the government valued these assets for.

Radio Pakistan Assets Mortgage

Similar to the PTV mortgage, leaked documents state that all of Radio Pakistan’s assets in the country will be pledged to get loans.

More details have revealed that 61 Radio Pakistan buildings across the country have been valued at just Rs. 72 crore. Experts say that this amount is equivalent to the value of Radio Pakistan’s single building in Islamabad’s Red Zone let alone 61 buildings in premium areas across the country. Estimates price these assets at several times the valued amount.

By devaluing such a huge asset, it is the investors who are benefiting the most.

Another aspect questioned by the experts is that national radio holds the most importance in times of war and with matters heating up between India and Pakistan, we could lose an important national security asset if the government fails to return the loan on time.

Possible Consequences

Pakistan government has been taking these loans to fill exports gaps, increase foreign exchange reserves, meet budget requirements but more importantly to pay back previous loans.

Ishaq Dar is leading Pakistan to a debt-trap: Experts

When a government pays back loans by taking, even more, loans, it is usually a recipe for disaster. When commenting on this borrowing spree, local and foreign experts say that Pakistani Finance Minister is leading the country towards a “debt trap”. This is a term experts use to explain such disastrous scenarios.

Pakistan can lose these assets if it fails to pay back in time due to unforeseen circumstances

Moving on, this also means that Pakistan cannot pay back its loans at the moment mostly because of the lack of exports and tax collection. When the country cannot pay back loans, putting up national security assets as collateral for the mortgage makes little sense.

Just imagine if Pakistan is late on any of the payments, and/or the situation with India worsens and results in a war, this could lead to Pakistan losing these assets to private institutions.

Issuing bonds is a good way to borrow money. However, mortgaging most of your vital installations like the biggest airport in the country, the national radio or TV or the central roads as collateral seems like a risky proposition, to say the least. What if some issues occur and profits from these institutions cannot be used to pay back profits on the loans? The government would be in deep trouble if something like this happens.

Terrorist attacks or a war could put all profit returns burden on the government

Some analysts also question the use of Islamic Sukuk bonds for budget financing and then linking the returns with treasury bills, citing that it is forbidden and against Shariah laws. However, that is an altogether different debate for another time.

We just hope that our government(s), whether federal or provincial, find other means to improve the economy instead of issuing superficial claims based on such huge amounts of loans. With loans crossing reaching the $75 billion mark, we seriously need to put a stop to this before loans become unpayable and the country defaults.

Citations and Sources: Tribune 1Tribune 2Tribune 3DawnNation92 HD News

No Comments


Skip to toolbar