Pakistan’s economy continued to pick up in Fiscal Year 2015 as economic reform progressed and security improved. Inflation significantly markedly declined, and the current deficit narrowed with favorable prices for oil and other commodities.
Despite global headwinds, the outlook is for continued moderate growth as structural and macroeconomic reform deepens. Persistence will be required to overcome longstanding structural impediments to investment and enable faster growth.
Due to prudent economic policies and use of 100 percent development funds this year the government has achieved a GDP growth rate of 4.7 percent which was the highest in the past eight years.
Government in the outgoing fiscal year budget 2015-16 fixed the GDP growth target of 5.5 percent but due to less growth in the agriculture sector and losses in the cotton production the growth rate was reduced to 4.7 percent.
When the government came into power in 2013 Pakistan was facing multiple challenges including security, energy and economy. Energy crisis was so severe that there was load shedding of 18 to 20 hours daily and the industries were not getting electricity and economy was in bad shape.
Due to shortage of electricity the economic growth rate was stagnant and the conditions of social sectors including health and education were in poor condition. Due to this situation in 2013, Pakistan was considered as low growth country and budget deficit reached 9 percent of the GDP as a result Pakistan was considered as unattractive investment destination and the security situation was also very poor.
After coming into power the government took a number of initiatives to stabilise and reform the economy. Due to the efforts of the government major economic indicators were improving and economy was performing well now. Pakistan of today 2016 is far better than in 2013 and now it is gradually progressing. The economy was now on the take off stage and would further improve.
The National Economic Council in its meeting held the other day has fixed GDP growth rate target of 5.7 percent for the forthcoming budget 2016-17. Keeping in view of improving economy, the government would be able to achieve the target of 5.7 percent.
The government would give special attention to the agriculture sector and provide relief to farmers in the agricultural inputs in order to reduce their cost of production to boost agriculture production and save them from the international commodities prices crash.
The government in the budget would also take steps for revival of the industrial sector to boost exports for the benefit of the country. In the year 2017-18 10,000 MW electricity would be added in the national grid. Universities funding would be enhanced from Rs20 billion to Rs24 billion during the financial year 2016-17 while the funding for Higher Education Commission(HEC) would also increase from Rs20 billion to Rs21 billion bedsides establishing universities in Fata, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan. Every district campuses of universities would be established to provide higher education to the youth of the country on their doorsteps. In next 10 years the number of PhDs would be increased from 350 in 2010 to 10,000 under US-Pak Knowledge Corridor in the country.
Highlighting the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2016-17, Rs655 billion have been allocated as compared to Rs580 billion earmarked in the outgoing financial year 2015-16.
The government had earmarked Rs1675billion in the forthcoming budget for the development schemes under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the year 2016-17. Out of the total allocation Rs875 billion have been earmarked for the provinces.
Rs468 billion were allocated for infrastructure including Rs157 billion for power, Rs260 billion for transport and communications, Rs33billion for water, Rs18 billion for Physical Planning and Housing.
Out of Rs89 billion allocated for social sector Rs29 billion were earmarked for education including Higher Education Commission (HEC), Rs30 billion for health and population, Rs20 billion for Sustainable Development Goals Programme and Rs10 billion for other social sectors.
Rs9 billion were allocated for science and IT, Rs8 billion for governance, Rs42 billion for special areas including AJK, Fata and Gilgit-Baltistan respectively. Out of Rs4 billion for production, Rs2 billion each were earmarked for industries and food and agriculture sectors.
Rs28 billion were earmarked for special federal development programme under PSDP. The minister said development projects worth US $30 billion out of $46 billion to be initiated under CPEC framework across the country had become live.
The financing of these projects either completed or in the process of completion. It was unprecedented that a piece of paper Memorandum of Understanding was converted into portfolio of $46 billion within short span of time.
Different early harvest energy projects were being completed to meet electricity shortage and informed that mining at Thar Coal site had been started. The electricity generation would start from Thar coal in 2018-19 adding.
Thar coal deposit would be sufficient for next 400 years if 5,000 MW per annum electricity is generated from Thar coal. Pak-China leadership and people of both the brotherly countries had complete faith in CPEC and they had expressed unflinching resolve to complete the project within stipulated time.
niversary in the National Assembly: the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) completed its third parliamentary year, the first time the milestone has been achieved by a Nawaz Sharif-led federal government.
Even though the ruling party has been in power twice before and that too with a heavy mandate, its stint was ended prematurely both times, ostensibly on account of a showdown with the military establishment.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government while pursuing public friendly policies, had made massive achievements in three years since it came into power. During the period, the PML-N launched a number of development projects and there was no case of corruption in these public welfare projects, he said talking to a private news channel.
When PML-N came into power in 2013, the country was facing major issues including energy crises, law and order situation and terrorism, the incumbent government took concrete measures and achieved maximum results to tackle all these.
The PML-N government in leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif took bold steps by launching operation Zrab-e-Azb and Karachi operation to get the soil free of criminals and outlaws. The government started many power projects and reduced electricity load-shedding from 18 hours to 6 to 8 hours a day and it would be reduced further. Zero-load-shedding of gas for industrial had boosted country’s industry.
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a mega development project and it would usher the country into a new era of progress and prosperity. Masses had elected PML-N for a five years’ term and the government would continue to serve them till completion of its constitutional term.
Despite all the confrontation and bad blood, there is a consensus at the moment among political forces across the spectrum that they will not support undemocratic moves. God willing, the PML-N will also complete five years in power.
This year, things were looking up for the government: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was in vogue and a rare period of smooth civil-military relations appeared to have emerged.
The nation was greatly relieved that an experienced PML-N team headed by a pragmatic businessman would quickly put the economy on the road of economic growth that had eluded the rather incompetent and corrupt management of the PPP government.
Economic growth is the cornerstone of employment generation for the youth of the country, who were hoping for a big leap forward in employment opportunities and prosperity. Unfortunately, after lapse of three years the promised growth and prosperity has not materialised.
Author is the President, Center of Pakistan And International Relations (COPAIR) and Editor -in- Chief of ‘Mélange’ email@example.com