Tag Archives: analysis

How can Pakistan’s economy grow post Covid-19 | Instant News


Reuters archive photo.

Reuters archive photo.
The author is a recipient of the James A Wechsler Award for International Reporting and a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He tweeted @Mbilallakhani

The double defeat of Covid-19 and the fragile economy is bad enough, but this is the first economic crisis in Pakistan’s history for our informal economy directly, which in turn has been a shock absorber every time Pakistan experiences an economic crisis. The bad news is that things will get much worse. The good news is that we can get out of this stronger, if we play our cards correctly.

What is the biggest source of economic pain for the Pakistani economy due to the lockdown of Covid-19? Mass unemployment and a sharp decline in domestic consumption and exports. This is exacerbating an already fragile economy, where demand has been compressed over the past two years by raising interest rates and depreciation, to successfully make our current account deficit faster and bring medium-term stability to volatile rupees.

The government is trying to increase domestic demand by injecting cash and spurring economic activities through the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program, which gives 12 million cash-vulnerable families to spur consumption while maintaining self-defense through locking. Opening the construction sector or engaging in large public works programs is also a way to create mass employment, while increasing domestic demand.

However, this is a time for bold ideas and large infrastructure programs taking time to come down, argues Uzair Younus, a senior non-resident colleague at the South Asia Center for the Atlantic Council, based in Washington DC. “The informal economy is at a disadvantage and it is important to get cash into the system,” Uzair said. “A quick way to get cash in the informal economy is to get involved in small-scale public works at the district level. This can be channeled through existing mechanisms that are used to provide MNA and MPA development expenses for their constituents. These funds can be used to build local roads, plant trees, etc. And allows unemployed workers to find work. “

This is a local policy recommendation, although the ruling party opposes the distribution of development funds through the MNA in principle, because of the potential to trigger political patronage. If we can launch this with transparency and effectiveness, this can be an important tool in the government’s Covid-19 response box.

There are also two opportunities that arise in the post-Covid-19 world order, which Pakistan can exploit to reform our economy. First, dramatically low oil and commodity prices (imported inputs) will create a buffer in our current account, even after considering a 15-20% reduction in exports and remittances. We must utilize this buffer and redesign global supply chains (due to US-China tensions) to attract foreign investors and allocate resources to new industries that meet the demand for products needed by the world compared to continuing to support our industries seeking rent, which results in allocations sub-optimal from our limited economic resources.

Second, the crisis opens opportunities where Pakistan’s geo-political superiority currently resides. The US will want to get out of Afghanistan even faster, which can help us secure debt relief in the interests of a stable region. China and the US are also locked in a battle for global influence (with the US stopping funding for WHO because it is deemed too pro-China) and this can be used by Pakistan to gain access to both their markets, attract investment and secure debt relief or rescheduling.

Finally, it is time for Pakistan to renegotiate our social contract; to spend more on health care, social safety nets for the poor and connect Covid-19 bailouts for businesses to enter the tax net. Most governments only get one chance at the start of their terms of office to push through hard reforms. PTI only has a short time.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2020.

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Death with an unknown cause | The Express Tribune | Instant News

That such deaths may also occur in other hospitals cannot be ruled out


Two hundred strange deaths in Karachi, the most populous city in Pakistan, within two weeks were almost normal, according to sources in hospitals and morgues. But that number, lately, is said to have increased. During a recent TV interview, Dr. Seemi Jamali, Director of JPMC, Karachi’s largest public sector hospital, said that over the past 15 days, there has been a 21% increase year-on-year in the total number of patients being taken dead or dying in several hours after arrival. In what strengthens the account of the JPMC director, Edhi Foundation said that the number of bodies received at their mortuary in Karachi between April 1 and 13 was 388 compared with 230 bodies received during the same period last year. This shows a significant difference of 158.

What caused the death of those killed at JPMC or expired within a few hours of arrival is still unknown and cannot be attributed to coronavirus. However, a number of such deaths – namely those that occur on arrival or a few hours later – in a famous private hospital are what cause alarms. Dr Abdul Bari Khan, CEO of the Indus Hospital, has confirmed to the media that over the past few days, a total of four people were taken to his hospital either dead or almost out of date, and all are known to have contracted the corona virus.

That such deaths might also occur in other hospitals in this city – even throughout the country – cannot be ruled out. While official coronavirus casualties across the country reached 128, on April 16, the number of deaths with unknown causes raised a big question mark on the authenticity of official figures. Thus there is a need for all hospitals in all regions to be bound to test patients who are taken to hospital dead or seriously for coronavirus so that the actual number of deaths from microbes can be ascertained, and counter strategies can be adjusted accordingly.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2020.

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Prepare to navigate through the times of distraction | Instant News

The key to survival is not only aid packages but also a willingness to change paradigms


Reuters archive photo.

Reuters archive photo.

KARACHI: When I wrote about the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) last year, the idea emerged too futuristic at that time, especially from the point of view of policy makers in Third World countries like Pakistan who worked in fire-fighting mode to survive from one fiscal year to a year. other.

However, the Covid-19 crisis has changed that perception globally and even the pandemic has acted as a catalyst to accelerate the 4IR process worldwide.

If one thing that will be remembered in the future around 2020 is that it was a year of disruption from the start, the global economy is trying hard to recover from the aftermath of the trade war between the US and China which created jitters in commodities and market equities.

Then a dispute arose between OPEC + members that made crude oil prices fall. And finally, the lack of a unified commitment from the world community to fight the coronavirus pandemic, and the increasing distrust and accusations of each other have made matters worse.

In fact, the cost of this pandemic could rise to $ 4.1 trillion, or nearly 5% of global gross domestic product (GDP), and its recovery could be delayed until 2022 according to the latest estimate of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

When we look at the main challenges faced by countries, it is limiting human interaction and making transactions more digital. It seems that in addition to some of the initial dental problems, the transition is almost instant in developed countries.

This is where we have failed miserably because not only has adequate infrastructure such as the internet and high-speed equipment without interruption, but also because of the non-digital and human-intensive nature of the national economy. Even those segments of society, which can easily adopt changes such as the education sector, have largely failed, leaving the future of the next generation in jeopardy.

Cannot import

To meet infrastructure needs, Pakistani policymakers in the past have never really introduced an environment conducive to promoting local manufacturing bases for computing and communication equipment such as laptops, computers, smartphones, tablets, digital payment systems, etc.

Now, with massive currency devaluations over the past two and a half years, imports of such equipment are quickly becoming uneconomical and could be a serious obstacle in any future digital transformation effort.

Another problem is the public’s refusal to use formal channels such as banks to conduct monetary transactions, which are the foundation for the digital economy. Now, to meet the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Pakistan is moving energetically towards a documented economy. However, it’s better to go further to make it digital.

The government does not need to provide an economic shock with some sudden shocks such as the push for demonization in India, but it certainly needs to create enough momentum to start the transformation. Blockchain technology shows many promising results for safe and smooth digital transactions.

While rich countries poured billions of dollars into reviving their economies, poor countries hobbled by throwing whatever they got to save their sinking economies.

However, the key to survival is not only the size of the aid package but also the willingness and readiness of countries to make a paradigm shift. Fortunately, about 64% of Pakistan’s population is under 30 years old, who also understand technology, and with focused efforts the government can change angles faster than others.

The world will be a different place once we get to the other end and we better prepare ourselves to navigate through times of distraction.

The author is a financial market enthusiast and is bound to Pakistan’s stocks, commodities and technology

Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2020.

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Study Finds Most Cases of COVID-19 in NYC Coming from Europe, Elsewhere in the US – NBC New York | Instant News

What you need to know

  • The first confirmed COVID-19 case in New York City came from sources mainly Europe and the United States, according to the first molecular epidemiological study of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
  • The research, published online, was led by the Icahn School of Medicine in Mount Sinai and was the first to track the source of the case.
  • The study also found that, although the first New York State case was confirmed in March, the virus had circulated around the area the previous week.

The first confirmed COVID-19 case in New York City came from sources mainly Europe and the United States, according to the first molecular epidemiological study of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, conducted by Mount Sinai.

The study, published online, was led by the Icahn School of Medicine in Mount Sinai and was the first to track the source of the case. This study shows that the epidemic in this city mostly arises through uninterrupted transmission between the United States and Europe. He also found limited evidence to support a direct introduction from China, where the virus originated, or other locations in Asia.

“These results indicate that SARS-CoV-2 comes to the New York City region mainly through Europe via untraceable transmissions,” Viviana Simon, MD, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at ISMMS, said. “Only one of the cases studied was infected with a virus which is a clear candidate for entry from Asia, and the virus is most closely related to virus isolates from Seattle, Washington.”

New York City has become one of the main centers of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the US with more than 4,000 deaths in the metropolitan area.

The research team from the Icahn Institute for Data Science and Genomic Technology, Global Health and the Emerging Pathogens Institute, and the Department of Microbiology, Pathology, and Genetics and Genomics Science sequenced 90 SARS-CoV-2 genes out of 84 of the more than 800 confirmed. COVID-19 positive cases in the Mount Sinai Health System.

“We are sequencing the genomes of the COVID-19 cases identified until March 18,” Harm van Bakel, Assistant Professor of Genetics and Genomics at ISMMS, said. “These cases were taken from 21 New York City neighborhoods in four regions (Manhattan, Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn), as well as two cities in neighboring Westchester County.”

The researchers then analyzed this sequence along with all 2,363 SARS-CoV-2 genes that are available to the public from around the world to determine the most likely origins of the SARS-CoV-2 type that infects Mount Sinai patients.

“Phylogenetic analysis of 84 different SARS-CoV2 genomes shows some independent but isolated introductions mainly from Europe and other parts of the United States. In addition, related virus groups found in patients living in various urban environments provide strong evidence of transmission of the SARS-CoV2 community in the city before March 18, 2020, “van Bakel said.

Although the federal government instituted targeted screening of possible COVID-19 cases, as well as a number of travel restrictions to limit its spread in the United States from hotspots in China, Iran, and, later, European countries, the first case in the state. New York was identified in New York City last month.

On March 1, the Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, announced the first confirmed coronavirus case in the city.

However, this study found another interesting element: while the case of the State of New York was first confirmed in March, the virus circulated around the area a few weeks earlier.

“This study also shows that the virus is likely to circulate as early as the end of January 2020 in the New York City area. This underscores the urgent need for initial and continuing extensive testing to identify untracked transmission clusters in the community,” Simon said.

According to the researchers, knowing the time the virus came to New York and the route taken was important for evaluating and designing effective containment strategies.


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COVID-19: Manz to restart manufacturing operations in Germany | Instant News

About 75 percent of the capacity of personnel in both locations will be focused on processing orders that were previously ordered. Image: Manz

PV and electronic equipment and automation specialist Manz AG plans to resume manufacturing operations at the German site after the Easter break, after being closed three weeks ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manz said that his German locations in Reutlingen and Tübingen would restart operations but not for full work capacity, due to travel restrictions – especially at customer sites – and limited assembly numbers.

The company added that the safety measures (short work and separate shifts) in force meant that around 75 percent of the capacity of personnel at both locations would be focused on processing orders that were ordered in advance.

According to Manz, the R&D site in Italy will continue to work from headquarters until further notice due to restrictions on leaving Italy.

Martin Drasch, CEO of Manz AG said, “All our clients continue the projects they have done at Manz. We regularly deal with our clients regarding future project orders and expect further orders to be made in the near future. So the main thing for us now is to look forward again. “

The Manz management team will also rule out part of an unspecified salary to contribute to securing work at the production site.

PV Tech has created a special tracker to map how the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts solar power supply chains around the world. You can read the latest updates here.

If you have a COVID-19 statement to share or a story about how a pandemic disrupts the solar power business anywhere in the world, contact [email protected] or [email protected].

manz ag, thin film cigs, covid-19, pv tech covid-19 tracker, German, Italy, coronavirus


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