Perhaps we should all heave a sigh of relief here. Pakistan’s long suffering crisis of balance of payment, an issue that seemed as if it would cripple the economy forever, has apparently come to an end- or so it seems so.

The news was delivered by Finance Minister Asad Umar who stated in a press conference with finality that the balance of payment crisis in Pakistan was over. It appears we can thank the Bailout package granted by China for this short-term relief to the economy. Asad Umar reassured that the government would now take measures to boost exports exponentially so that such a crisis does not fall upon the country again.

It is certainly a bold statement for the FM- to make- one that opens up the party to harsh criticism if it does not hold up to be entirely true- more so since Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) has made statements full of air in the past. Regardless, if true, it bodes well for the country and its suffering economy in the short term. It will allow the government to take a break from the flack it received from increasing gas and electricity prices.

It is important to understand that the ending of the balance of payment is a short-term solution. A BoP crisis occurs when a nation is unable to pay for essential imports or service its external debt repayments. The Chinese bailout would allow us spending money for imports for some time- until Pakistan does not increase its exports or lowers its deficit by increasing taxes; it would be difficult to escape the cycle of a BoP crisis.

The bailout has provided us some much-needed breathing space. Now the government’s job is to finalise this uncertain agreement, put a number to the word “assistance” and approach the IMF from a position of power. All of this is necessary to return investor confidence in the economy. It must also realize that what it has achieved is merely a short-term easement - the deeper problems of the economy still need to be addressed and that must be done with the same urgency.

Thus Asad Umar’s promise that this government will try to fulfill goals set for exports the following year must be held to the test. As Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Quereshi put it, the visit to China has pulled Pakistan’s economy “out of the woods” for now. Yet our Finance Ministry must make plans for the economy to exit the vicinity entirely.