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SUMMARY of the Article “Climate debt trap,” by Jamil Ahmad, Dawn, June 15th, 2024


The article explores the severe challenge of heavy and rising debt faced by developing nations, which significantly hampers their efforts to tackle climate change, reduce poverty, and pursue economic development. Between 2010 and 2022, the external debt of 118 low- and middle-income countries doubled to $3.1 trillion, constituting about 15% of their GDP. In 2022 alone, these countries spent $443 billion servicing public debts, with this figure expected to rise in the coming years. Factors such as inflation, high interest rates, the energy crisis, and economic uncertainty post-COVID-19 have exacerbated this situation. The high debt service payments limit the fiscal space necessary for investments in climate action and sustainable development, pushing many developing nations toward default. This liquidity crisis sidelines climate and environmental priorities, posing global risks including exacerbated poverty, food insecurity, water scarcity, and health issues. To address this, immediate debt relief is suggested, freeing up fiscal space for climate and development investments. Options include lowering borrowing costs, extending long-term loans, and debt swaps for climate actions. The V20 group of climate- » Read More…


SUMMARY of the Article “State of the economy,” Editorial, Dawn, June 13th, 2024


The editorial examines the state of Pakistan’s economy for the outgoing fiscal year as depicted in the new Pakistan Economic Survey. It suggests that while there has been some stabilization in key macroeconomic indicators, this stability is fragile and heavily dependent on IMF support, which necessitates yet another larger bailout. The finance minister acknowledged this vulnerability at the survey’s launch. Although the economy appears to have hit rock bottom in the last financial year, the slight improvements in macro indicators this year are seen as progress. However, this does not offer much hope for the future. The editorial highlights that the economy likely expanded by only 2.4%, slower than the population growth rate, driven primarily by increased output in cotton, wheat, and rice crops rather than industrial recovery. Agriculture saw a growth of 6.3%, the fastest in two decades, but its reliance on major crops highlights structural weaknesses. The industry and services sectors expanded by just 1.2% each, meaning no new jobs were created to accommodate the growing workforce. The government managed to reduce the current account deficit to $200 million in the first ten months against a $6 billion target for the year, avoiding a default on foreign payments and building international reserves to $9 billion, which stabilized the » Read More…


SUMMARY of the Article “COP28 to SB60,” by Aisha Khan, Dawn, June 1st, 2024


The article outlines the importance of the 60th session of the Subsidiary Bodies (SB60) taking place from June 3-13, 2024, in Bonn, as a critical preparatory event for COP29. The SB60 aims to recalibrate positions and find compromises to facilitate a successful outcome at COP29. The conference has three primary tasks: agreeing on a new post-2025 climate finance goal to ensure adequate funding for developing countries to meet their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), building momentum for the next generation of national climate plans, and providing guidance on the first Global Stock Take (GST) outcomes. The success of COP29 hinges on overcoming fixed positions regarding new collective quantified goals (NCQG) for climate finance, which is a contentious issue. Effective negotiation processes and continued implementation of COP28 outcomes are necessary to maintain progress. The Bonn dialogue must address financial packages, particularly linking » Read More…


SUMMARY of the Article “Negotiating effectively with IMF,” by Saeed Ahmed, Dawn, May 31st, 2024


The article delves into the complexities of Pakistan’s negotiations with the IMF for a new Extended Fund Facility (EFF) following the completion of the ninth-month Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). Given Pakistan’s ongoing fiscal and external vulnerabilities, another EFF appears necessary amidst rising political instability. IMF programs, characterized by ‘conditionality,’ require borrowing governments to undertake economic reforms. Effective IMF programs hinge on negotiations and a medium-term economic agenda owned by the borrowing country’s authorities, which should address root economic problems without alienating domestic interests. The professional and ideological alignments between IMF staff and borrowing government officials significantly impact negotiation outcomes, often resulting in larger programs with fewer conditions when ideological ties are strong. Pakistan’s past experiences, particularly during the 2019-2023 EFF program, » Read More…


SUMMARY of the Article “Debt trap,” Editorial, Dawn, May 30th, 2024


Pakistan’s debt situation has escalated significantly, resulting in immense pressure on the national budget. The fiscal deficit has averaged 7.3% of the GDP over the past five years, contributing to a national debt of Rs78.9 trillion, comprising Rs43.4 trillion in domestic debt and Rs32.9 trillion in external loans. This has created a debt trap where the country must continuously borrow to repay existing debts. Consequently, debt servicing costs have soared, with the latest estimates rising from Rs7.3 trillion to Rs8.3 trillion for the current fiscal year. The finance ministry’s Mid-Year Budget Review Report indicates a 64% increase in debt payments, reaching Rs4.2 trillion in the first half of the fiscal year. This surge is attributed to both the growing debt stock and a record-high interest rate of 22%, which has significantly increased the cost of domestic debt. The report highlights that domestic debt payments constitute nearly 90% of total debt servicing costs. The high » Read More…