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As government departs, PM Abbasi presents rundown of PML-N's five-year performance

Updated May 28, 2018

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Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi speaks at a press conference in Islamabad on Monday. — DawnNewsTV
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi speaks at a press conference in Islamabad on Monday. — DawnNewsTV

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday presented a comparison of the country's economic situation in 2013 — when the PML-N took over power — and where it stands as the party bows out.

Flanked by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail and Minister of State for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb, the prime minister presented historical figures for various economic indicators, pointing out that foreign direct investment (FDI), per capita income, total investments and capital markets have all grown since the PML-N government took power.

Agricultural credit has increased from Rs259 billion in 2013 to Rs756bn in 2018, he claimed. Production of major crops including wheat, maize, sugarcane and rice has also increased over this period, while efforts are being made to revive cotton production, he added.

Inflation in 2013 was 7.75pc while the consumer price index today stands at 3.77pc, Abbasi said, adding that food, non-food and core inflation have decreased significantly over the past five years.

Read: PML-N lawmakers tear into PTI's 'unrealistic' 100-day agenda

He said that despite export challenges, the government has been able to bring exports to the same levels as they were in 2013.

Imports, another challenge according to the prime minister, have increased from $33.4bn to $45.6bn, Abbasi said, attributing the rise to machinery imports and a recent spike in oil prices.

Remittances have grown over 40pc while the FDI is three times that in 2013, Abbasi claimed. Both public and private investment have increased over this period. Meanwhile, the per capita income experienced a 23pc increase since the PML-N took power, the prime minister claimed.

"The Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) stood at Rs46.5bn [when we took over], while Rs121bn have been disbursed this year. The beneficiaries have increased from 3.75 million to 5.63m and the monthly amount has been increased to Rs5,000."

The prime minister said that the capital markets suffered after reaching a historic high because of political events, but still managed to grow considerably.

"FBR collection was Rs1.505 trillion and is now at Rs2.919tr," he said.

The prime minister also said that the credit to private sector was in the negative when the incumbent government took over but has now been brought to Rs527bn.

"As a percentage of GDP, domestic debt has increased from 42.5pc to 46.5pc and external debt has fallen from 21.4pc to 20.5pc," he said, before handing over the mic to his finance minister, who claimed that Pakistan's ability to repay the debt was also increasing with the increase in its debt.

Heading into the general elections, scheduled for July 25, the PML-N government seems to be making last efforts to apprise the people of its performance over the past five years and has been demanding other parties to demonstrate theirs.

With the caretaker prime minister announced today, Abbasi and his cabinet are set to step down from office on May 31 and hand over the reins to he interim setup.