ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s economic growth in the financial year ending in June is expected to hit 3.3 per cent, well below the target of 6.3pc set by the previous government, as the government has failed to meet targets in nearly all sectors, according to the Economic Survey.
The Economic Survey of 2018-19 is scheduled to be officially released a day before the next year’s budget on June 11, but some of its details were learnt by Dawn on Saturday.
It indicates that livestock is the only sector whose growth went slightly above the official target while all other sectors performed below expectation.
A sharp decline was witnessed in the industrial sector that registered a growth of 1.4pc against the target of 7.6pc despite the fact that power generation witnessed an increase as several power plants and other power sector projects were completed.
Also, the manufacturing sector slid by 0.3pc and the large scale manufacturing (LSM) showed a negative growth of 2pc against the target 8.1pc.
Growth plunges to 3.3pc, as per Economic Survey
The service sector grew by 4.7pc against the target of 6.5pc, while the construction sector achieved the growth of 7.6pc against a 10pc target.
Delays in making key policy decisions by the government, including the one about going to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package and those related to the construction and industrial sectors, created confusions among investors, experts believed.
The only achievement made by the government during this period was in the livestock sector that grew by four per cent against the target of 3.8pc though policies of the previous government at Centre and in the provinces played a key role in this regard.
An official of the national food security ministry said extensive efforts were made to control foot and mouth disease (FMD) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) had recognised Pakistan’s success. “This has increased their survival rate and the number of livestock has improved across the country, besides the ‘livestock loans insurance scheme’, launched in 2013, too, encouraged more people to raise farm animals,” the official added.
As the agriculture sector grew by only 0.8pc against a 3.8pc target, the massive decline was mainly attributed to unfavourable weather conditions.
“Pakistan will miss the target of 25.8 million tonnes of wheat produce this year because of untimely rains and storms. Similarly, the drought-like situation in some areas of Sindh and Balochistan, too, had an impact on the overall agriculture sector,” the official added.
Cotton output dropped by 12.7pc against 9.86 million bales in 2018-19 due to shortage of irrigation water, use of low quality inputs such as inferior seed and fertilisers at the early stage of the crop and reduction of 12pc in sown area.
Rice crop, too, decreased by 3.3pc, sugarcane by 19.4pc against the last year’s production, while low water availability led to 3.1pc and 17.9pc reduction in the sown area for rice and sugarcane, respectively.
Commenting on the first year performance of the government, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb said Prime Minister Imran Khan should read PML-N’s first year economic survey and learn the difference ‘between the performance of an elected government and a selected regime’.
She said that the PML-N had achieved more than the targets set for its first year in government while the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) regime had started registering a retraction on all economic indicators instead of progress.
“The Economic Survey of Pakistan’s 2018-2019 is an attested certificate of Imran Khan’s incompetence, failure and inability,” she said, adding that Mr Khan should resign in national interest and save himself the embarrassment of being ousted by the people of Pakistan.
Responding to the criticism of the main opposition party, an official of the finance ministry said that ambitious targets were set by the outgoing PML-N government just before the general elections, while the incumbent government took office in August 2018.
Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2019