PML-N rejects govt claim about economic performance

Published May 24, 2021
PML-N leader and former federal finance minister Miftah Ismail said that the PTI government boasted of reducing the current account deficit but the truth was that the reduction had resulted in an economic crisis. — Facebook Screengrab
PML-N leader and former federal finance minister Miftah Ismail said that the PTI government boasted of reducing the current account deficit but the truth was that the reduction had resulted in an economic crisis. — Facebook Screengrab

KARACHI: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has alleged that the PTI government has fudged figures, including those about population of Pakistan, to lie about its economic performance.

PML-N leader and former federal finance minister Miftah Ismail and former governor of Sindh Mohammad Zubair said at a press conference that worldwide the top three indicators of any economy were its GDP growth, inflation rate and budget deficit. The PTI government had failed at all three indicators, they added.

They said that the government had secured a loan equal to 50 per cent of what Pakistan had obtained since it came into being.

They said that Nawaz Sharif during three tenures of his government had not secured as much loan as Imran Khan’s government had in only three years.

Mr Ismail said that the PTI government while calculating the GDP growth took Pakistan’s population as 210.10 million whereas the actual population was 220.80m according to 2017 census which had increased by 2.4pc since then.

Says PTI has fudged figures about GDP growth, inflation rate, budget deficit

By doing so, he said, the government excluded over 10.5m people of Pakistan from its calculation which was a drastic case of figure fudging.

The PML-N leader said since Feb 25, the prices of 51 basic items had been increasing by 13pc every single week and had risen by 17pc in the last week. The Sensitive Price Index increase, he said, had pushed millions of people below the poverty line.

As compared to that, he claimed, the PML-N government by controlling inflation had lifted over 20m people out of poverty but the PTI government had given the nation only inflation, hyper taxation and high unemployment.

He said that the Consumer Price Index had also taken a hit because of the government’s disastrous economic policies and mismanagement. There was 14pc food inflation in rural areas and 15pc in urban areas, he said.

Mr Ismail said: “The PTI government has inflicted historic budget deficit of over Rs10 trillion during the past three years while the budget deficit during five years of the previous PML-N government was around Rs8tr. If devaluation of rupee was added, budget deficit during the PTI government would be more than Rs10tr, he added.

Mr Ismail said that the PTI government boasted of reducing the current account deficit but the truth was that the reduction had resulted in an economic crisis that had led to rising poverty and deterioration of the industrial sector.

He explained that the PTI government devalued rupee by over 40pc and then for the first two years of its tenure put a ban on virtually all imports, slashed budgetary allocations for education, public health and development which obviously reduced the current account deficit.

This ban on imports hit industrialisation hard which paralysed the country’s industrial production, the PML-N leader said.

All this, he said, was like cutting down the expenses of a household by starving the family members, taking children out of schools and refusing to give medicine to the ill.

“But despite all these disastrous policies, the PTI government has failed to even match the export numbers of the PML-N government which was $24.8bn, he said. The PTI government has failed to even touch this amount so far.”

Mr Ismail said that the PTI was very fond of blaming Covid-19 for bad economic situation but did not give credit of remittances’ increase to the pandemic. He said that the increase in foreign remittances was because of travel bans due to Covid-19 as the money saved from travel was being sent to Pakistan, and the PTI government had done nothing to make this happen.

Mr Zubair said that the figure fudging by the PTI government was so blatant that Imran Khan himself was shocked when the economic numbers were shared with him.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2021

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