Pakistan is on its way to economic growth. However, the bottlenecks, including inflation concerns, global protectionism, continue to hamper the process, along with monetary tightening from international donors such as IMF and the US.
Officials of Citibank expressed these views on the sidelines of the ‘Citi Media Summit,’ titled “Finance, Innovation and the Economy in a Changing World,” in an interview with Business Recorder
Head of EMEA Emerging Markets Corporate Banking at Citi, Rizwan Shaikh, spoke to the media and said that Pakistan’s vaccination speed would be a significant factor in the pace of its recovery. “Pakistan’s vaccination rates are slower than a number of emerging markets.”
An announcement came on Tuesday that 525,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered in a single day. However, despite this, Pakistan still lags in terms of the total vaccinations administered per 100 people, which for now stands at 9.5, even though the global average has gone up close to 45 doses per 100 people.
Inflation has also accelerated to nearly 9 percent in the fiscal year 2020-21 (FY21), with motor fuel, electricity, and food items forming a bulk of the consumer burden. It is expected to go even further.
Rizwan Shaikh said, “Additional risks linked to Pakistan’s economic recovery are inflation and global protectionism. Global commodity prices remain a risk as well.”
“Global protectionism will affect all emerging markets, including Pakistan,” he added.
At the same time, the officials are hopeful for the future growth trajectory of Pakistan. Citi Country Officer (CCO) for Pakistan, Ahmed Bozai, said, “Pakistan has all the demographics going in its favour. FMCGs, tech, pharma, want to invest.”
He said that diverse investors have shown interest in Pakistan in recent times, which is a positive shift away from traditional partners and also a development that bodes well for the country. “At first, there were UK-based and American investors. Now, we see far eastern, Turkish, Middle East investors interested in the region,” he said.