(CTN News) – Amidst a worsening economic situation in Pakistan, the caretaker government of Punjab has raised eyebrows by sanctioning a budget of ₹2.3 billion for the purchase of new luxury vehicles for its officials, as reported by The News International.
This move comes when the entire country is grappling with financial difficulties and trying to meet the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) demands.
According to the notification issued on July 20, the allocation includes new double cabin 4×4 Revo-G M/T vehicles for assistant commissioners of each tehsil, Yaris ATIV 1.3L for additional deputy commissioners (general) of each district, and Corolla 1.6 Altis CVT for additional commissioners of each division. The vehicles currently used by assistant commissioners will be allocated to tehsildars.
This decision has drawn criticism, given Pakistan’s ongoing struggle to repay its external debt servicing obligations.
For the current month of July 2023, the country owes $2.44 billion, including a significant portion of non-guaranteed debt to China, as well as debts to France, Japan, the IMF, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA).
Economic Challenges as Pakistan Faces Mounting Debt Servicing Obligations
As mentioned in The News International report, Pakistan’s economic woes have deepened as the country faces substantial debt servicing obligations. The burden of external debt is particularly evident in July 2023, where repayments amount to a staggering $2.44 billion.
A significant portion of this debt, around $2.07 billion, is owed to China, with another $1 billion safe deposit due. Efforts are underway to negotiate the rollover of approximately $3 billion in bilateral debt with China.
Additionally, Pakistan is required to repay guaranteed bilateral loans to China, France, and Japan and outstanding loans to multilateral creditors like the IMF, ADB, IDA, IBRD, and others.
These financial challenges have put immense pressure on the country’s economy and its ability to meet the demands of the IMF. The situation has raised concerns about the government’s decision to allocate a substantial budget to purchase new luxury vehicles for officials while the nation faces a cash crunch.
Increasing Trend of Skilled Pakistanis Seeking Jobs Abroad
In the face of economic hardships and limited job opportunities, Pakistan has witnessed a significant outflow of skilled nationals seeking employment abroad.
According to the Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment records, approximately 150,059 highly qualified Pakistani nationals left the country for jobs abroad in the past decades.
The highest number of skilled Pakistanis left the country in 2022, with 17,976 individuals seeking opportunities overseas. The trend has continued, with 10,845 highly qualified nationals leaving Pakistan for jobs abroad by June 2023 out of 395,166 emigrants.
This brain drain poses a considerable challenge to Pakistan’s economic growth and development, leading to a loss of skilled workforce and potential contributors to the country’s progress.
Addressing this issue requires a comprehensive approach focusing on creating better job prospects and a favorable environment for skilled professionals in Pakistan.
In conclusion, Pakistan’s economy faces significant challenges, with mounting debt obligations and a rising trend of skilled individuals seeking opportunities abroad. The decision of the Punjab caretaker government to allocate a substantial budget for new luxury vehicles has come under scrutiny amid the country’s financial struggles.
Addressing these economic issues and promoting opportunities for skilled professionals within the country are crucial steps toward sustainable growth and development.