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Dr. Muinuddin Baqai

State of the Economy

Eighteen months ago, the Pakistan Rupee was pegged around 18 to the US dollar, at that stage one felt that it should have been closer to 20. The gap between our perceptions and that of the State Bank of Pakistan has been consistently Rs 2 or 10%, almost as if 10% was the margin kept as “Reserve for Unforeseen”. Creeping devaluation, average rate of paisas 10 every month, has managed to keep a tight control in a volatile Economic situation. Ashraf Janjua, Economic Advisor to the State Bank of Pakistan, had an excellent Question and Answer session with economic journalists on Monday April 24, 1989, it seems both sides learnt to some extent the craft and perceptions of the other. Mr Janjua earlier had given an excellent dissertation of the approach of the State Bank to fiscal policy, his candid views were very refreshing. Though Mr I A Hanfi, the Governor of the State Bank, missed the function due to an unscheduled but fortunately successful operation of the gall bladder, his gall at the scope and intent of even permitting such an open discussion, seldom previously attempted, was exceedingly welcome, no doubt encouraged by the standards of frankness instituted by his predecessor, Mr V A Jafarey, now the Advisor to the PM on Finance.