Eid ul Azha Observance in Pakistan Transfers Billions of Dollars From Urban to Rural Population

An often overlooked benefit of buying and sacrificing millions of animals during Eid ul Azha celebration is the massive transfer of wealth from relatively rich urban population to the comparatively poor village population.   In other words, it helps create jobs and redistribute wealth to alleviate poverty in a similar way as zakat, taxes and sadaqa (charity) do.  Here's a blog post I wrote last year (2016) on this subject and I am reproducing it below:

Pakistanis are spending about $3.5 billion on Eid ul Azha this year, according to analysts. This includes $2.8 billion worth of livestock and another $700 million on clothes,  shoes, jewelry and various services. This amount represent a huge transfer of wealth from urban to rural population in the country.

Animal Sacrifice:

Eid al Adha commemorates the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his most beloved son Ismail (Ismael) when asked to do so by God. It follows Hajj, the annual pilgrimage of Mecca by Muslims from around the world each year. Muslims believe that God had angels remove Ismael from under the knife of blindfolded Abraham and had him replaced by a lamb.

Economic Activity: 

The commemoration includes sacrifice of cows, goats, lambs and camels on Eid al Azha. This year, the media reports indicate that 4 million goats, 2.7 million cows, 800,000 lambs and 30,000 camels are being slaughtered in Pakistan on the occasion.

Using a conservative average price of $600 per cow, $200 per goat or lamb and $800 per camel, the total cost of animals adds up to $2.8 billion. Various services offered by, transporters, butchers and slaughter houses are in addition to this amount.

Apparel Purchases:

The Eid celebration includes buying and wearing new clothes and shoes as well as women's jewelry and other accessories that add up to another $700 million spent in Pakistan.

Charity:

Animal hides and significant amounts of meat are donated to various charities and the poor on Eid. Charities like Edhi Foundation are big beneficiaries of this largesse.

Rural Economy:

Rural residents who raise animals for sale on Eid bring in billions of dollars into the rural economy. These inflows help provide livelihoods and alleviate rural poverty.

Summary:

Eid al Azha this year represents a $3.5 billion worth of economic activity that is generating jobs and helping the charities and the rural residents of the country.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan Among Top Meat Consuming Nations

Livestock Revolution in Pakistan

An Indian Farmer Commits Suicide Every 30 Minutes

Pakistan's Rural Economy

Strong Eid Sales in Pakistan

Happy Eid-ul-Azha: Good Hygiene and Humane Treatment of Animals

Ho Kya Raha Hai - Impact of Eid-Ul-Adha on Our Economy - 12th September 2016

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Drifting apart: The gap between #India’s richer and poorer states is widening. #Inequality #Modi https://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21727867-economists-are-baffled-arguing-poorer-states-should-be-catching-up … via @TheEconomist

COUNTRIES find it easier to get rich once their neighbours already are. East Asia’s growth pattern has for decades been likened to a skein of geese, from Japan at the vanguard to laggards such as Myanmar at the rear. The same pattern can often be seen within big countries. Over the past decade, for example, China’s poorer provinces have grown faster than their wealthier peers. India is different. Far from converging, its states are getting ever more unequal. A recent shake-up in the tax system might even make matters worse.

Bar a few Mumbai penthouses and Bangalore startup offices, all parts of India are relatively poor by global standards. Taken together, its 1.3bn people make up roughly the third and fourth decile of the world’s population, with an income per person (adjusted for purchasing power) of $6,600 dollars. But that average conceals a vast gap. In Kerala, a southern state, the average resident has an annual income per person of $9,300, higher than Ukraine, and near the global median. With just $2,000 or so, an Indian in Bihar, a landlocked state of 120m people, is closer to a citizen of Mali or Chad, in the bottom decile globally.

The gap has been widening. In 1990, point out Praveen Chakravarty and Vivek Dehejia of the IDFC Institute, a think-tank, India’s three richest large states had incomes just 50% higher than the three poorest—roughly the same divergence as in America or the EU today, and more equal than in China. Now the trio is three times richer (see chart).

In some rich parts of the world, income gaps between regions have in recent decades been widening. But India’s experience still puzzles economists. Poor regions benefit from technology developed in richer ones—from trains to mobile phones. Workers in poorer places accept lower wages, so firms build new factories there.

The catch-up process ought to be all the faster if barriers to the movement of goods or people are lower. Regions within China have converged rapidly, partly owing to the market, as factories move production inland where wages are cheaper, and partly to government attempts to lift poorer regions by investing heavily in their infrastructure.

Arvind Subramanian, chief economic adviser to India’s government, earlier this year wrote that its states’ divergence is “a deep puzzle”. The brief bout of liberalisation in 1991 probably played a part initially, by unevenly distributing the spoils of more rapid overall economic growth. But that burst of inequality should have self-corrected by now.

One theory blames the states’ divergence on their isolation even in the Indian domestic market, as a result of lousy infrastructure, red tape and cultural barriers. Moving stuff from state to state can be as tiresome as exporting. Internal migration that would generate catch-up growth is stymied by cultural and linguistic barriers: poor northern states are Hindi-speaking, unlike the richer south. Cuisines differ enough for internal migrants to grumble. It is harder to have access to benefits and state subsidies outside your home state.


Mr Subramanian thinks such arguments are overdone. India may not have mass migration on the scale that transformed China, but it is still sizeable, he argues, and has been rising as a share of the population even as convergence has gone into reverse. Inter-state trade is healthy, suggesting suitably porous borders.

Another theory looks at India’s development model. Growth has relied more on skill-intensive sectors such as IT than on labour-intensive manufacturing. This may have stymied the forces of convergence seen elsewhere, Mr Subramanian posits. Perhaps, however low their labour costs, the poorer places lack the skills base to poach jobs from richer rivals.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan received around $2 billion in foreign remittances, partly because of the seasonal effect of Eidul Azha.

The SBP is expected to officially announce the foreign remittances statistics next week.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1501689/money-matters-pakistan-gets-230m-loans-cushion-forex-reserves/

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Pakistan has received two short-term loans worth $230 million from international creditors, meant to keep the official foreign exchange reserves at a level sufficient to provide cover to three-month import bill.

According to officials, the country received an amount of $153 million from Citibank in August. Besides, Islamic Development Bank (IDB) gave a $77 million short-term loan in July for crude oil import.

The IDB’s short-term facility is meant for import of crude oil from Saudi Arabia and the lender directly makes payments to the oil supplier on behalf of an oil importer. It partially helped lower pressure on the country’s forex reserves.
From April to May this year, Pakistan had signed three separate short-term loan agreements with the IDB valuing $700 million. Of this amount, Pakistan has already imported crude oil equivalent to $340 million.

For the current fiscal year, the government has estimated receiving $1.55 billion short-term loan from the IDB against the oil import facility.

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During the week ending August 31, 2017, the SBP’s reserves increased by $338 million to $14.681 billion due to official inflows, the central bank had reported on Thursday.

For almost one month, Pakistan was touching the three-month import cover border line as its reserves remained at around $14.3 billion.


In order to avoid downgrading in its credit ratings and keep the tap of budget financing open from the World Bank, Pakistan has to maintain its official foreign currency reserves above the three-month import cover level.

The finance ministry is currently making arrangements for floating about $1 billion worth of Sukuk Bonds by middle of November and a better credit rating will help lower the cost of borrowing. It had also raised $1 billion last year at 5.5% interest rate – the lowest rate on the Islamic bond that it ever paid.

The government was reviewing different options to keep the reserves above the level of three-month import bill. The options included incentives for expatriates to invest in Pakistani dollar-denominated bonds, more restrictions on imports and steps that will encourage exporters to bring back export proceeds.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday held a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xiao Jie and discussed issues of mutual interests – including ways and means to further enhance bilateral economic relations.


During FY2016-17, Pakistan had borrowed a record $10.1 billion external loans that included a record-breaking $4.4 billion short-term financing.

Out of this, $2.3 billion came from Chinese financial institutions. The government took $1.7 billion from the China Development Bank, $300 million from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, and $300 million from the Bank of China.

It also obtained $445 million from the Noor Bank of the UAE, $650 million from a consortium of the Suisse Bank, the UBL and the ABL, $275 million from Citi and $700 million from the Standard Chartered Bank, London.

This was the first time in Pakistan’s history that any government has taken over $10 billion as fresh foreign loans in a single year.

Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday called Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Pakistan’s economic hitman while criticising his economic policies.

In July, Pakistan obtained a total of $254.9 million loans, including $77 million from IDB. It received $75 million from the World Bank for project financing.

China also gave $71.5 million worth of loans for carrying out various Beijing-funded schemes. The Asian Development Bank provided $28.8 million worth of loans.

The $254.9 million loans were 3.2% of the total annual budgetary estimates of $8 billion for FY2017-18.

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