ISLAMABAD: The economic managers of the country here on Wednesday termed the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) white paper on state of economy selective, misrepresented and devoid of economic context. “The PTI’s presentation [white paper] is selective and misrepresented, showing misleading economic indicators,” Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar told a press conference.
He was flanked by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Professor Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Energy Khurram Dastgir Khan, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb, and Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Ayesha Ghaus Pasha. The finance minister said the comparisons made in the white paper were incorrect and devoid of economic context.
He said the economic situation since April 2022 was strongly influenced by the legacy that the new government got from the previous regime, hence what did the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) led government received should be a denominator for comparison. “This context”, he said, was totally missing in the PTI’s presentation while it had also ignored international economic situation, the commodities super-cycle, Russia-Ukraine war impacts and the catastrophic floods in the country. “These realities should have been kept in mind for making a fair analysis,” he added.
Ishaq Dar said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had predicted that one-third of the globe would be facing a serious recessional problem in the year 2023 and Pakistan was no exception. The Fund had projected Pakistan’s economic growth at 2.7 percent of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). It is pertinent to mention that the PTI in its white paper on Tuesday had painted a bleak picture of the national economy.
The finance minister categorically rejected the PTI’s claim of increase in prices by 100 to 200 percent for being factually incorrect. Since the PDM government took over the charge, he said, the prices of wheat increased by 33%, cooking oil 21%, pulse Masoor 19.5%, pulse Mash 35%, tomato 13.7%, petrol 47%, electricity 0.5%, and vegetable ghee14.9%. Ishaq Dar said the PTI’s claim of creating 5.5 million jobs during its government was also incorrect. The official data showed that some 3.2 million jobs were created from 2019 to 2022.
He said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) previous government collected Rs 2,255 billion in its first year and Rs 3,844 billion in the last year (FY 2018). The PTI government on the other hand started its first year with negative growth in revenue collection by collecting Rs 3,829 billion while the revenue collection in its fourth year remained Rs 6,148 billion, the minister added.
He said during the first six months of the financial year 2022-23, the revenue collection increased by 17.5% to Rs 3,429 billion as compared to the same period of previous year. He also expressed the government’s resolve to achieve the current year’s target of Rs 7,440 billion. With respect to revenue percentage to GDP, the minister said the PML-N’s last government left with revenue collection at 9.8% of GDP and the PTI government at only 9.2% of GDP in its last year.
Agriculture credit, he said, had increased from Rs 351 billion in 2013 to Rs 972 billion in 2018 while the PTI government took it to Rs 1,419 billion in its last year. “We will take the credit to Rs 1,819 billion by end of the current fiscal year,” he added. He said during the PML-N government’s last year (2018), trade deficit stood at Rs 30.9 billion while the PTI government left it at Rs 39 billion. Similarly, he said, the Current Account Deficit was Rs 3.1 billion in the first year of the previous PML-N government, which was brought down to Rs 19.2 billion in 2018.