COAS Gen Bajwa points to 'fiscal mismanagement' as reason behind Pakistan's economic woes

Published June 28, 2019
“We understand that the government has gone for difficult but quintessential decisions for long-term benefits," says Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. — AFP/File
“We understand that the government has gone for difficult but quintessential decisions for long-term benefits," says Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa. — AFP/File

Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Friday blamed “fiscal mismanagement” for the country's economic woes, days after he was appointed to a newly formed committee responsible for steering the economy.

The comments come days before the board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is due to decide whether to approve a $6 billion bailout for the country, which is trying to avoid a balance of payments crisis. Prime Minister Imran Khan has blamed previous governments for the country's economic problems.

The country's economic outlook has sharply deteriorated over the past year. Growth is expected to come in at 3.3 per cent this fiscal year, ending at the end of this month, compared with 5.2pc the previous year. It is forecast to ease to 2.4pc in the next financial year.

Inflation, at 9pc in May, is likely to rise to 11-13pc during fiscal year 2019-20, according to official forecasts. In its annual budget statement, the government said that it expected a fiscal deficit of 7.1pc this year, down from 7.2pc the previous year. The rupee has lost more than 50pc of its value since December 2017.

“We're going through a difficult economic situation due to fiscal mismanagement,” Gen Bajwa told a seminar at Islamabad's National Defence University, according to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations.

“We understand that the government has gone for difficult but quintessential decisions for long-term benefits and what we're doing is playing our part,” he said.

Gen Bajwa told the seminar that the military was doing its bit to confront the economic challenges by cutting costs. The defence budget was increased by 20pc last year but the military decided to forgo a big increase in FY 2019-20.

Last week, the government made Gen Bajwa a member of the National Development Council, which is headed by the premier and has been given the responsibility of making major economic decisions.

Opinion

Trouble in Camelot
Updated 06 May 2021

Trouble in Camelot

The electorate knows better than to swallow the government’s rhetoric.
Time to wake up
Updated 05 May 2021

Time to wake up

The criticism reflects our failure to counter rising religious intolerance and bigotry, and also exposes a diplomatic debacle.

Editorial

Proceed with caution
Updated 06 May 2021

Proceed with caution

The slightest loosening of SOP protocols could send us hurling in the direction where India finds itself today.
06 May 2021

IPP dues

THE ECC decision to pay the first tranche of outstanding dues of one set of IPPs, and further delay the payments of...
06 May 2021

Violence against doctors

HEALTHCARE workers and doctors’ associations in two major hospitals of KP are adamant that the KP Healthcare...
05 May 2021

Path of growth

FINANCE MINISTER Shaukat Tarin finally specified the future direction that the country’s economic policy will take...
05 May 2021

Human rights 2020

THE human rights situation in Pakistan, almost predictably bleak every year, was deeply impacted in 2020 by an...
Unreasonable behaviour
Updated 05 May 2021

Unreasonable behaviour

Usman Buzdar should reprimand Dr Awan for her coarse behaviour and make sure she tenders a public apology.