ISLAMABAD: Parliamentary Leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party in the Senate Sherry Rehman has said that economic indicators depict failure of governance.
“On one hand the government is painting a rosy picture of its performance, but on the other we have figures from the World Bank which state that from May 2020 to May 2021, food prices increased by 14.8 per cent in Pakistan. It comes as no surprise that around 68pc of our population is unable to afford a healthy diet,” she said while talking to reporters here on Saturday.
Ms Rehman said it was shocking that food inflation had almost doubled, from 5.5pc in 2018 to 10.48pc in 2021. “Our inflation rate is currently averaging at almost 11pc, which is higher than both India and Bangladesh. It is shocking that our economic growth rate has decreased by 29.3pc,” she added.
The PPP leader said the unemployment rate had jumped from 6.2pc to 15pc. In 2020, over two million people were unemployed, which was almost a quarter of the one crore jobs that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had promised. “The income earned by over 6.7 million Pakistanis has declined in the last two years. Poverty has increased to 40pc and over 2m people have fallen below the poverty line,” she said.
Sherry says 68pc of Pakistanis unable to afford a healthy diet
“In the last three years, our public debt has increased to Rs38.006 trillion. This is an increase of 52.3pc which is double of what PPP took and more than half of PML-N’s share. While PTI was busy celebrating over not taking a loan from the State Bank in a year, the circular debt doubled to Rs2.28tr,” she added.
Ms Rehman said: “The current account is back in deficit while Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has dipped by 39pc. So, why was PTI government celebrating a surplus in both? The current account that is back in deficit showed a surplus due to historical dip in international prices amid global Covid-19 crisis while the FDI improved only due to China’s investment in CPEC projects.”
She said in the past three years, the PTI government hid key debt statistics, and presented dubious GDP statistics to hide its incompetence. “Our food inflation is highest in the region, and the unemployment rate has jumped from 6pc to 15pc. Wheat, sugar and oil crisis has caused losses worth billions. Pakistan’s economy is on the ventilator so what exactly has the government done which is worth celebrating?”
She said the reality was far different from what the government was telling the nation. “With all the key macroeconomic indicators faring poorly in the face of the three years of PTI governance, it is shocking to see the self-congratulatory media appearances while millions in Pakistan are suffering from poverty, food insecurity and unemployment.
“Unfortunately, the future does not look too bright; with the unapologetic increase in public debt and current account deficit, Pakistan is going to struggle on the global scale,” she said.
Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2021