The economic merry-go-round.

The businessman-turned-politician Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif's government is not likely to announce the industrial policy any time soon. The relevant official quarters confirmed that the key policy is still on the drawing board and the finalisation of the initial draft that incorporates the input of trade bodies and other ministries may take months and not weeks.

'Sorry, but there is so much fire-fighting all the time which consumes attention and energies of the ministry of industries that long-term policy making gets neglected,' a senior source in the hierarchy said when reached over the phone in Islamabad for an update on the industrial policy.

'Crafting industrial policy is a very tedious complicated job. The work in progress. Yes, we had a meeting last week, and teams and committees are working as we speak. Still, there are more urgent matters warranting immediate interventions,' another senior ministry official said, hinting at pressure asserted by certain businesses threatening to shut down and exit if the government fails to oblige them.

'For the better part, we end up shuttling between key economic ministries pleading cases of companies and business groups. Please trash the delusion that businesses care for the country or the people. They care for their own bottom line and are willing to go to any length to shield their interest that they tend to universalise. Mine is a very thankless job in every sense of the word,' moaned a top official of the ministry.

The perpetual fire-fighting consumes the attention and energies of the Ministry of Industries and Production, so much so that long-term policy-making gets neglected

'How does characterising businesses a certain way justify the absence of an industrial policy?' retorted a business leader. 'It may be good, bad or ugly, but the private sector has a pivotal role in this country's progress. The control freaks in the over-crowded ministries want their little finger in every pie. They are more a part of the problem,' he asserted.

'The prolonged period of political turmoil has virtually paralysed the bureaucracy that was already not known to be dynamic or efficient,' commented a former federal secretary. 'Well, ministers come and go, but the routine work goes on at its pace forever in ministries,' another senior quipped.

Musadaq Zulqarnain, Chairman Interloop Ltd, commented: 'Most past policies are not implemented. Many are made without the ownership of the Ministry of Finance and...

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