World Bank: Pakistan Reduced Poverty and Grew Economy During COVID19 Pandemic

Pakistan poverty headcount, as measured at the lower-middle-income class line of US$3.20 PPP 2011 per day, declined from 37% in FY2020 to 34% in FY2021 in spite of the COVID19 pandemic, according to the World Bank's Pakistan Development Update 2022 released this month. The report said Pakistan's real GDP shrank by 1% in FY20, followed by 5.6% growth in FY21.  The report highlights high inflation and low savings rate as key economic issues. 

Pakistan's Macroeconomic Indicators. Source: World Bank

The report credited the PTI government led by former Prime Minister Imran Khan for timely policy measures, particularly the Ehsaas program, for mitigating the adverse socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here's an excerpt of the report titled Pakistan Development Update 2022

"The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) lowered the policy rate and announced supportive measures for the financial sector to help businesses and the Government expanded the national cash transfer program (Ehsaas) on an emergency basis. These measures contributed to economic growth rebounding to 5.6 percent in FY21.  However, long-standing structural weaknesses of the economy, particularly consumption-led growth, low private investment rates, and weak exports have constrained productivity growth and pose risks to a sustained recovery. Aggregate demand pressures have built up, in part due to previously accommodative fiscal and monetary policies, contributing to double-digit inflation and a sharp rise in the import bill with record-high trade deficits in H1 FY22 (Jul–Dec 2021). These have diminished the real purchasing power of households and weighed on the exchange rate and the country’s limited external buffers." 

The report cites high rates of inflation hurting the people, particularly the poor who spend about half of their income on food. Here's an excerpt: 

"Headline inflation rose to an average of 9.8 percent y-o-y in H1 FY22 from 8.6 percent in H1 FY21, driven by surging global commodity and energy prices and a weaker exchange rate. Similarly, core inflation has been increasing since September 2021. Accordingly, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has been unwinding its expansionary monetary stance since September 2021, raising the policy rate by a cumulative 525 basis points (bps) and banks’ cash reserve requirement by 100 bps" 

Pakistan Savings Rate Comparison. Source: World Bank

The World Bank report highlights the low level of personal savings and investments as a key impediment to economic growth. Here's an excerpt: 

"The savings challenge has only been exacerbated by the low level of financial inclusion in the country, where even those who save are not saving with the financial system, and as such savings are not being fully leveraged to support capital formation. Only 21 percent of the population has access to an account and only 18 percent of the population uses digital payments. There are also large gaps in financial inclusion, with vulnerable segments having limited access at high prices. In terms of access to accounts, 7 percent of adult women have access compared to 35 percent of adult men, and 15 percent of young adults (ages 15–24) have access compared to 25 percent of older adults. It should be highlighted, however, that Pakistan has made notable gains on the financial inclusion agenda in recent years, supported by policy reforms and holistic strategies such as the National Financial Inclusion Strategy. However, despite the progress made, Pakistan underperforms on key metrics of financial inclusion in comparison to its peer comparators. Estimates suggest that less than 50 percent of domestic savings find their way to the financial sector, with the rest used in real estate, being intermediated through informal channels, or are soaked up directly by the government through National Savings. The incentive system is skewed such that savings flow outside of the financial sector. The large quantum of currency in circulation (CiC) in the economy is also indicative of this trend. The CiC/M2 ratio, which averaged 22 percent till June 2015 has increased to over 28 percent as of June 2021. The increase in CiC/M2 ratio translates into excess CiC of PKR1.4 trillion. These are resources that could have been intermediated for productive uses by the financial sector but are currently outside the sector." 

Related Links:


Riaz Haq said…
Arif Habib Limited
Monthly Technology exports reached at all-time during Mar’22, up by 24% YoY and 29% MoM to $ 259mn.

During 9MFY22, technology recorded exports worth $ 1.9bn marking a 29% YoY jump.


Arif Habib Limited
Highest ever total exports in the month of Mar'22, up by 18% YoY | 9% MoM to USD 3.74bn.


ICT exports surge to near $2 billion in 9M FY22

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have agreed, in principle, to extend the stalled bailout programme by up to one year and increase the loan size to $8 billion, giving markets the much-needed stability and a breathing space to the new government, the media reported.

The understanding has been reached between Pakistan Finance Minister Miftah Ismail and IMF Deputy Managing Director Antoinette Sayeh in Washington, sources told The Express Tribune on Sunday.

Subject to the final modalities, the IMF has agreed that the programme will be extended by another nine months to one year as against the original end-period of September 2022, the sources added.

The size of the loan would be increased from the existing $6 billion to $8 billion -- a net addition of $2 billion, a senior government functionary requesting anonymity said.

The previous PTI-led government and the IMF had signed a 39-month Extended Fund Facility (July 2019 to September 2022) with a total value of $6 billion. However, the previous government failed to fulfil its commitments and the programme remained stalled for most of the time as $3 billion remained undisbursed.

Before taking Pakistan's case to the IMF Board for approval, Islamabad would have to agree on the budget strategy for the next fiscal year 2022-23, the sources said.

Also, the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would have to demonstrate that it would undo some wrong steps taken by the former regime against the commitments that it gave to the IMF Board in January this year.

Pakistan is passing through a phase of political and economic uncertainty and the decision to stay in the IMF programme for longer than original period would bring clarity in economic policies and soothe the rattling markets, Express Tribune reported.
Riaz Haq said…
Modest progress on SDGs
Khaleeq Kiani

Pakistan’s first Sustainable Develop­ment Goals (SDGs) Status Report (2021) is out and the country’s overall progress on SDGs is modest.

“Overall, Pakistan’s SDGs (composite) index score has increased from 53.11 in 2015 to 63.49 in 2020 i.e. 19.5 per cent up from the baseline of 2015,” according to Dr Shabnam Sarfraz, member of Social Sector and Devolution of the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives.

In summary, the status report finds a considerable decline in extreme poverty, improvement in access to energy, increased industrial activities, reduction in maternal mortality, improvement in undernourishment, food insecurity, wash and housing, and climate action.

There are many areas identified by the report that need urgent collective attention such as education, children out of school, the proportion of youth not in education, employment and training, provision of decent work environment, implementation of climatic adaptation etc.

Since 2015, the Government of Pakistan has not published a consolidated report that presents the country’s progress on SDGs indicators viz-a-viz their baseline values. The report captures the existing data availability gap and compares the baseline 2014-2015 with values of the most recent available data on 133 SDG indicators.

The report says that Pakistan’s progress on SDG-1 — poverty reduction has been steady. Poverty has been on the decline between the period 2014-15 and 2018-19 with 9.3 million people lifted out of poverty away from the national poverty line. Similarly, Pakistan witnessed a significant decline in the proportion of the population affected by disasters.

In a drive towards zero hunger as espoused by SDG-2, undernourishment declined by 4.2pc from 20.2pc to 16pc from 2015 to 2019. Also, a moderate achievement was made through the reduction of stunting by 7pc and wasting by 4pc during 2013-18 among children under five years of age.

Improvements are seen in health outcomes for mothers by reducing anaemia among pregnant women by 16.5pc in seven years during 2011-18. There was a one per cent decrease in the agricultural area under productive and sustainable agriculture, from 39pc to 38pc, over four years during 2015-2019.

On good health and well-being under SDG-3, Pakistan has shown reasonable progress by improving most of the basic health indicators. The number of mothers dying during pregnancy and live births reduced by 32.6pc during 2007-2019. Births attended by skilled health personnel increased by 10pc in five years during 2013-18. National vaccination coverage improved by 11.5pc in five years between 2013 and 2018.

Concerning education achievements (SDG-4), the country’s progress has been dismal. The primary completion rate has stagnated at 67pc in five years during 2015-20. Similarly, the gender gap (SDG-5) of 9pc between the primary completion rate of males and females has also persisted in this period. The lower secondary completion rate has marginally increased from 50pc to 59pc during 2015-20. The national literacy rate stagnated at 60pc in five years during 2015-20, which is alarming and worrying.

More girls were enrolled in schools improving the gender parity in net enrolment at primary, middle and Matric levels during 2015-19. Large deficiencies and disparities persist in the provision of basic services to schools across the country.

Access to clean water and sanitation has also shown improvements at the national and provincial levels over time under SDG-6. Improved source of drinking water is available to 94pc of the country’s population. Access to drinking water in Balochistan has increased by 17pc in 5 years during 2015-20. The population having access to unshared toilets and handwashing facilities is 68pc and 54pc respectively, as per Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey (PSLM) 2019-20.

Riaz Haq said…
Modest progress on SDGs
Khaleeq Kiani

Pakistan’s first Sustainable Develop­ment Goals (SDGs) Status Report (2021) is out and the country’s overall progress on SDGs is modest.

On SDG-7, Pakistan’s commitment to the environment is shown by an increase in the share of renewable energy by more than four times between 2015 to 2019. The reliance on clean fuel (cooking) increased to 47pc in the period during 2018-19, from 41.3pc in 2014-15 at the national level. An increase of 3pc was recorded in 2019- 20 with 96pc of the population having access to electricity as compared to 93pc in 2014-15.

On SDG-8 ensuring decent work and economic growth, the economy experienced a slowdown with an annual growth rate of real GDP per capita declining to -3.36pc in the fiscal year 2019-20 from 2.04pc in 2014-15. Similarly, almost one-third of the total youth (30pc) in the age group (15-24 years) was not obtaining education, employment or training at the national level over the four year period of 2015-19 (SDGs indicator 8.6.1). Within the country, the highest instance of this category of youth was in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 38pc. The children aged 10-14 years engaged in work slightly reduced by over 2pc to 6.47pc from 8.64pc during 2015-19, at the national level.

Some progress was made on the SDG-9: industry, innovation and infrastructure targets. With the availability of new data from PSLM the baseline value is established with 88pc of the rural population living within two kilometres of an all-season road. The proportion of small-scale industries in total industry value added increased to 10.50pc in 2019-20 from 8.40pc in 2014-15, despite the overall negative effects of Covid-19 in 2019-20. The proportion of the mobile phone-owning population increased by 1pc in two years, from 45pc to 46pc between 2018-20.

A slight dent was made by the reduction of income inequality by 2pc in 2016-2019 for SDG-10. A small decline of 7pc in the proportion of the urban population living in slums, informal settlements or inadequate housing also occurred during 2014-2018 from 45pc to 38pc for SDG-11. Pakistan remains committed to addressing the problem of hazardous waste and to compliance with the Basel Convention as required under SDG-12 concerning sustainable consumption and production. Regarding SDG-13 on climate action, greenhouse gas emissions were 375.03 million tonnes in 2016, a 2.5pc increase from 2015.

Relating to the SDG-14: Life below Water, Pakistan has maintained the proportion of fish stocks at 30pc within biologically sustainable levels for the five years between 2015-20. Despite the growing population and rapid urbanisation pressures, Pakistan’s forest area as a proportion of total land remained unchanged at around 5pc in five years between 2015-2020 which is one of the targets of SDG-15: Life on Land.

On SDG-16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; in terms of counting the uncounted, birth registration of children under 5 years showed an improvement by 8.2pc in five years between 2013-18. Under SDG-17 developing partnerships for achieving SDGs showed significant improvement in its journey towards digital transformation as the fixed internet broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants increased by 20pc in three years during 2017-20.

Riaz Haq said…
#India NITI Aayog’s first “SDG India - Index & Dashboard 2019-20” report showed that of 28 states/UTs it mapped, #poverty went up in 22, #hunger in 24 and #income #inequality in 25 of those states/UTs. #unemployment #economy #COVID19 #BJP #Modi #Hindutva

First, the IMF’s estimation.

The IMF used (i) the HCES of 2011-12 (the fiscal year 2011 for the IMF) as the base and estimated consumption distribution for all the years until 2020-21 (IMF’s 2020) “via the use of estimates based on average per capita nominal PFCE growth” and (ii) also took into consideration “the average rupee food subsidy transfer to each individual” for the years of 2004-05 to 2020-21.

The second factor – taking the money value of subsidised and free ration for 2020-21 – was considered because it said without this any exercise of poverty estimation “solely on the basis of reported consumption expenditures will lead to an overestimation of poverty levels”.

Several questions arise out of this methodology. The first is its extensive use of HCES of 2011-12 while being dismissive of the HCES of 2017-18 (which showed poverty growing). The second is, PFCE maps the consumption expenditure of all Indians, rich or poor, except government consumption (GFCE), and doesn’t tell which segment (income level) of society spends how much – making it impossible to know the status of households, which can be considered for poverty estimation.

The third is about the IMF’s assumption that the subsidised and free ration (which started during the pandemic under the PMGKY) reached two-thirds of the population and that the free ration will continue forever (eliminating extreme poverty). The IMF report cheers the Aadhaar-linked ration cards. None of these assumptions can be taken at face value.

The CAG report tabled in Parliament earlier this month highlighted several flaws in the Aadhaar’s functioning, including 73% of faulty biometrics that people paid to correct, duplications and verification failures. Besides, one year after the mass exodus began in 2020, migrant workers had not received subsidised ration, forcing the Supreme Court to lambast the central government (for its failure to operationalise the App being developed for the purpose and work-in-progress “one-nation-one-ration card” system) and direct state governments to ensure ration to migrants.

And what happens when the free ration is discontinued after September 2022? The decline in extreme poverty would return, wouldn’t it? So, does the IMF believe this amounts to poverty elimination?

On the other hand, the WB report seeks to marry the NSSO’s 2011-12 HCES to private sector data, the CMIE’s Consumer Pyramid Household Survey (CPHS), to inform its poverty estimation.

This is when the WB report admits that (i) the CMIE’s CPHS data is not comparable with the NSSO’s and that (ii) it “reweighed CPHS to construct NSSO-compatible measures of poverty and inequality for the years 2015 to 2019”. It said the CPHS data needed to be transformed into “a nationally representative dataset”.

As for the CPHS data, an elaborate debate about its ability to capture poverty took place last year. Several economists, including Jean Dreze, pointed out “a troubling pattern of poverty underestimation in CPHS, vis-à-vis other national surveys”. Several others accused the CPHS of a pronounced bias in favour of the “well-off”, which the CMIE admitted and promised to look into.

Another question arises from the use of the CPHS.

If a private firm like the CMIE can carry out household surveys every month or every quarter (for example, its employment-unemployment data is monthly) why can’t the government with decades of institutional knowledge and experience and huge human and financial resources?

Riaz Haq said…
India slips 3 spots on 17 SDG adopted as 2030 agenda, says report
India's overall Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) score was 66 out of 100

India has slipped three spots from last year's 117 to rank 120 on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted as a part of the 2030 agenda by 192 United Nations member states in 2015, a new report said.

With the latest rankings, India is now behind all south Asian nations except Pakistan, which stands at 129. The south Asian countries ahead of India are Bhutan ranked 75, Sri Lanka 87, Nepal 96 and Bangladesh 109.

India's overall Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) score was 66 out of 100.

According to the Centre for Science and Environment's State of India's Environment Report, 2022, released by Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav on Tuesday, India's rank dropped primarily because of major challenges in 11 SDGs including zero hunger, good health and wellbeing, gender equality and sustainable cities and communities

India also performed poorly in dealing with quality education and life on land aspects, the report stated.

The previous year, India had suffered on the fronts of ending hunger and achieving food security, achieving gender equality and building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and fostering innovation.

On the state-wise preparedness, the report said Jharkhand and Bihar are the least prepared to meet the SDGs by the target year 2030.

Kerala ranked first, followed by Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh in the second position. The third position was shared by Goa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Among the Union Territories, Chandigarh was ranked first, followed by Delhi, Lakshadweep and Puducherry in the second place and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands on the third, the report said.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, was adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, which provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet.

There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals which are an urgent call for action by all countries in a global partnership.

Some of these goals are no poverty, zero hunger, good health and wellbeing, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure.

It also includes, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water, life on land, peace, justice and strong institutions and lastly strengthening global partnerships for the goals.
Riaz Haq said…
SDG Rankings Report 2021:

Central African Republic 38.27 165

Nigeria 48.93 160

Haiti 51.35 150

Uganda 53.15 140

Rwanda 57.58 130

Pakistan score 57.72 rank 129

India 60.07 120

Bangladesh 63.45 109

Nepal 66.52 96

Sri Lanka 68.10 87

Bhutan 69.98 75

China 62.07 57

Russia 73.75 46

US 76.01 32

UK 79.97 17

Finland 85.90 1

Riaz Haq said…
Kuwait seeks to invest $750m in Pakistan projects
Kuwait Investment Authority’s Enertech Holding Co. and Pakistan Kuwait Investment Company have applied for a digital bank license and proposed a hydrogen plant and two smart cities

Kuwait-backed units are planning several projects in Pakistan valued at $750m, marking one of the largest proposed investments in the South Asian country in recent years.

Kuwait Investment Authority’s Enertech Holding Co. and Pakistan Kuwait Investment Company have applied for a digital bank license and proposed a hydrogen plant and two smart cities, said Mohammad Al Fares, chairman at Pakistan Kuwait Investment Co. The two are already working on a $200m water pipeline.

The proposed investments are a boon for Pakistan, which has seen muted foreign investment for more than a decade because of energy outages, terrorism and political instability.

Recent turmoil has led to a regime change while the nation’s foreign exchange reserves have dropped to less than two months of imports.

Newly elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif visited Saudi Arabia, which has provided loan support in the past.

Pakistan is also negotiating with the International Monetary Fund to release $3bn this year. Although loans have been the main stop-gap for financial support, the nation has long sought to increase foreign investment to reduce its reliance on borrowing.

Enertech and Pakistan Kuwait Investment Company have formed an alliance to explore opportunities in Pakistan, said Al Fares.

The latter was established in 1979 by the governments of Pakistan and Kuwait, and holds multiple investments including a 30 per cent stake in Meezan Bank Ltd., Pakistan’s fastest growing bank by deposits.

Riaz Haq said…
During his latest visit to Saudi Arabia, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif managed to secure around $8 billion, Indian local media reported.

The Saudi package includes doubling of the oil financing facility, additional money either through deposits or Sukuks and rolling over of the existing $4.2 billion facilities, The News newspaper reported. The report also mentioned that "technical details are being worked out and it will take a couple of weeks to get all documents ready," citing top official sources privy to the development.

It's worth noting that the Kingdom provided $3 billion deposits to the State Bank of Pakistan in December 2021, and also provided the nation with $100 million to procure oil after the Saudi oil facility was operationalized in March 2022.

Under the PTI-led regime headed by ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan, The oil-rich Gulf nation provided a package of $4.2 billion, including $3 billion deposits and a $1.2 billion oil facility for one year and linked it with the IMF programme.

Pakistan and UAE
After his visit to Saudi Arabia, PM Shehbaz Sharif visited the UAE on Saturday. With his interview with Khaleej Times he emphasized on the fact that Pakistan and UAE will increase its cooperation on regional and international issues to bring stability and prosperity in the region.

The Prime Minister met His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, where they both discussed the ways to strengthen the relations between the two countries.

In April 2021, the UAE has extended the term of $2 billion interest-free loan to Pakistan made in January 2019, in an attempt to help the country's economy.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s economy is on the brink
Failure to carry out meaningful reform will exacerbate existing political turmoil

Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen sharply in the past two months. The new government hopes to stop the bleeding with an enhanced IMF package and more short-term loans from China and Saudi Arabia. Supplies of electricity to households and industry have been cut as the cash-strapped country can no longer afford to buy coal or natural gas from overseas to fuel its power plants.

Newly elected prime minister Shehbaz Sharif was in Saudi Arabia last week to seek more financial assistance from the oil-rich kingdom, in addition to the existing bilateral credit of $4.2bn. Pakistan owes China $4.3bn in short-term loans in addition to the expensive loans to finance the power plants built under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor programme.

Pakistan’s finance minister Miftah Ismail met the IMF in Washington last month and requested an increase in the size and duration of its current $6bn fund programme, initiated in 2019.

International commercial debt markets are practically shut for Pakistan. Its five-year sovereign bonds are trading near 13 per cent, which is among the highest in the emerging markets.

Pakistan’s official liquid foreign exchange reserves (excluding gold reserves of about $4bn) have dropped to just $6.6bn, or by $6bn, since the end of February. The level of reserves provides cover for just one month of imports.

According to Ismail, the fiscal deficit could hit Rs5.6tn ($30bn), or about 8.8 per cent of gross domestic product, versus a target of about Rs4tn, by the end of June. Pakistan’s volatile political situation makes it difficult for the new government to take any tough steps.

The federal budget deficit in the first nine months of the current fiscal year jumped to a staggering Rs3.2tn, 53 per cent higher than compared with the same period of the previous year. A significant reason for this was Khan’s populist measures, including his decision to not pass the impact of rising oil prices to the consumer. It is costing about $1.1bn a quarter to subsidise petroleum products. However, this is not the only reason for the parlous state of the public finances.

Pakistan’s rent-seeking political economy, dominated by the military establishment and special interests, provides Rs1.3tn in tax subsidies to the big businesses and the industries, according to Pakistan’s Federal Bureau of Revenue, its tax collection authority.

However, Pakistan collects very little in taxes from the urban property market, which has been booming for some time, for example. Large houses or plots of land can cost anywhere between $500,000 and $2mn, but the owners pay little tax. According to Shahrukh Wani, an economist at Oxford university, all of Punjab, home to a population of more than 100mn, collects less in urban property taxes than the city of Chennai in India, with a population of about 10mn people.


It is time for Pakistan’s rich to start paying their proper share of taxes. The IMF should not allow itself to be seen as bailing out the wealthy, which it seems to be doing by ignoring Pakistan’s repeated slippages in meeting the programme targets.

The rich should also pay higher taxes on property and pay more for electricity and luxury cars than the low income or middle-class citizens who are already reeling from double-digit inflation (currently 13.4 per cent), which is the third-highest among major global economies. Steve Hanke, a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University, has calculated Pakistan’s realised inflation rate to be a whopping 30 per cent per year, more than double the official rate.

Further delay in carrying out meaningful economic reforms could lead to more economic hardship and social unrest.
Riaz Haq said…
Global container shipping operator Maersk strengthens its commitment in #Pakistan: Registers 33% growth in #exports out of Pak in the Q1 of 2022. Growth is across all types of exporters, both large & small. #trade #economy #PTI #ImranKhan @PTIofficial

A.P. Moller – Maersk’s (Maersk) strong commitment towards Pakistani exporters is yielding solid results, as indicated by the growth in exports registered by Maersk in the first quarter of 2022. After a slump in exports in 2021 due to the various challenges arising from the global pandemic, the local exporters have shipped almost 33% more containers out of the country between January and March this year on Maersk vessels compared to the same period last year. Maersk’s efforts to ensure access to empty containers and space on vessels have made a real difference in the last quarter.

One of the biggest challenges our customers faced was the availability of containers and space on vessels. We understood their requirements and priorities through constant dialogue with our customers and could forecast the demand and supply equation more accurately in the current volatile market condition. This has helped us plan the movement of our containers effectively, thus making empty equipment available for the exporters to ship their cargo out to the global market.

Hasan Faraz, Managing Director, Maersk Pakistan

The growth in exports has been across all types of exporters – the ones who have long-term contracts with Maersk, the ones who are booking their shipments in the short term, and the small & medium enterprises (SMEs) who are utilising Maersk’s digital platforms such as Twill. Maersk Spot and Twill booking platforms have seen a whopping growth of 57% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2021.
Through solutions such as Spot and Twill, we create a customer experience wherein the exporters can request quotes, book their shipment, get instant confirmations and track their cargo through easy-to-use mobile applications and platforms. Twill has truly been a game-changer for SMEs who don’t have the expertise in managing complex supply chains. We have teams hand-holding our customers throughout the process to simplify it so that our customers can focus on their core business.

Wajeeh Ahmed, Head of Sales, Maersk Pakistan

Maersk Pakistan has been working hard on ensuring that the Pakistani exporters get better access to containers, vessel space, and digital platforms and creating solutions through the various stages of their cargo’s journey. With the creation of dedicated warehousing and distribution solutions for customers in the retail and pharmaceutical sectors, innovative cold chain logistics solutions for the meat and vegetable industry, and the offering of visibility and tracking solutions such as TradeLens, Maersk Pakistan is heavily investing in simplifying and connecting the complex supply chains for its customers.
Source: A.P. Moller – Maersk
Riaz Haq said…
Stephen Stapczynski (Bloomberg)
Pakistan’s previous (PTI) government was in discussions with Russia in late-March to purchase LNG under a long-term agreement
🇵🇰 🚢 🇷🇺

➡️ But Pakistan’s government changed in April and those discussions have been suspended
➡️ Pakistan saw Russia as a solution to its energy shortage
Riaz Haq said…
PSLM survey: Social, living standards across most provinces abysmally poor
By Mehtab Haider May 24, 2021

Original Source:

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Social and Living Standard Measurement (PSLM) survey for 2019-20 shows that the literacy rate for 10 years and above remained stagnant at 60 percent compared to the findings of the same survey done in 2014-15. The results also demonstrate that 14 percent of household experienced moderate food insecurity while 2 percent witnessed severe food insecurity in the country.

This official survey known as PSLM was conducted country-wide with a sample of 6,500 blocks and 19,500 households. The PSLM 2019-20 survey provides assessment of the condition of the districts with respect to the human development dimensions like education and health and living standards.

The situation of seven districts of erstwhile FATA was also presented both within Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and separately among the seven districts to give an actual depiction of the situation.

The survey found the overall situation to be satisfactory in Punjab, but the districts of the southern Punjab are lagging behind in all indicators. However, in other provinces situation is poor in majority of districts with some exceptions like Karachi, Hyderabad in Sindh, Peshawar, Abbottabad, Haripur in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Quetta and Pishin in Balochistan. It is briefed that this analysis can be used by federal and provincial governments for effective planning and resource allocation.

The literacy rate for 10 years and above remained stagnant at 60 percent in PSLM 2019-20 as compared to PSLM 2014-15 survey. Sindh has shown declining trend in literacy rates. Similarly, net enrollments at primary, middle and matric at all levels in provinces has either remained stagnant or shown decreasing trends.

Enrollments at all levels are highest in Punjab, followed by KP, Sindh while Balochistan is at lowest. There are 32 percent children aged 5-16 years who are currently out of school, highest percentage of out of school children is in Balochistan i.e. 47 percent and lowest in Punjab i.e. 26 percent.

The districts of Rajanpur in Punjab, Thatta in Sindh, Kohistan & Bajaur in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Harnai, Qillah Abdullah & Ziarat are the bottom ranked districts in Education indicators within their respective provinces

In terms of all health indicators (Immunization, Pre Natal-Consultations & Skilled Birth attendants), the PSLM 2019-20 survey shows improving trend as compared to PSLM 2014-15.

The full immunization based on record for children aged 12-23 months increased significantly from 60 percent in 2014-15 to 70 percent in 2019-20 and accordingly all provinces has shown increasing trend. The Prenatal care has significantly increased for women aged 15 to 49 years to 77 percent in PSLM 2019-20 as compared to 73 percent in PSLM 2014-15. The mother and child health, another encouraging factor is the percentage of deliveries assisted by skilled birth attendants in overall Pakistan is at upward trajectory with 68 percent in 2019-20 as compared to 58 percent in 2014-15. There is however, stark difference in the health indicators within provinces. Regarding ICT, the results indicate that overall 12 percent of households own computer, laptop etc. 93 percent own mobile phones and 33 percent have internet access, percentages are higher in urban areas than rural areas with 51 percent and 24 percent respectively. The overall 45 percent individual of 10 years and older own mobile phone and 19 percent use internet facility. but there are large gender differences in both indicators where 65 percent males own mobiles as compared to 25 percent females. Similarly 24% of males are using internet as compared to only 14 percent females.

Riaz Haq said…
PSLM survey: Social, living standards across most provinces abysmally poor
By Mehtab Haider May 24, 2021

Original Source:

The results of the Housing survey reveal large gaps in urban and rural areas and within the provinces in almost all indicators. While, 72 percent of households have improved material used for roof & walls. Overall in Pakistan almost 96 percent households use electricity for lighting (91 percent have electricity supply and 5 percent installed solar panels for lighting). As many as 48 percent used gas as main fuel for cooking, while only 37 percent households are using clean fuel for lighting, cooking and heating. Similarly, 94 percent households are using improved water facilities for drinking water which includes (Piped water, motor pump, hand pump, protected well, protected spring, bottle water, tanker/water bearer). Besides, 68 percent have access to toilet facility which is not shared with others.

In terms of food insecurity experience scale, the results reveal that overall in Pakistan 84 percent of the households are food secure while 14 percent percent households reported moderate food insecurity, whereas 2 percent households reported severe food insecurity.

The prevalence of moderate and severe insecurity is highest in Balochistan with 23 percent and lowest in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 14 percent. It was informed that during Covid-19 first wave period the same module was used in special survey for evaluating the socio-economic impact of Covid-19 by PBS and had shown 40 percent of households’ experience either moderate or severe food insecurity (30 percent moderate & 10 percent severe). The survey finds 3.4 percent of population to be disable who either cannot at all or face a lot of difficulty in performing their basic functions like seeing, hearing, walking etc. 7.3 percent of population reported some difficulty in performing their basic functions.

Regarding migration, in PSLM survey has found that around 6 percent of population are not living at their place of birth. It is pertinent to mention here that in all provinces, there is more intra province migration (either from one district to another district within same province or from rural to urban) than inter province migration. The same trend is observed in capitals of the provinces as 13.24 percent population in Lahore reported within province migration as compared to only 2 percent from other provinces.

Among six districts of Karachi, district east has the highest percentage of population around 11 percent which migrated from within provinces followed by districts central and Malir while district south has reported highest percentage i.e. 9 percent of population who migrated from other provinces, followed by districts east & central. In Peshawar the trend is of intra province migration than inter province, however in Quetta both inter and intra province migration is of almost same level.

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan has exported its first vehicle – made by Master Changan Motors – under the new Auto Industry Development and Export Policy (AIDEP 2021-26), according to a press release issued by the company on Thursday.

The press release stated that under the new auto policy, all OEMs would require to initiate vehicle exports to help develop the local industry and expand the export capability of the country. The Changan Oshan X7, which is the country’s first export unit under the new policy, is the first vehicle to be launched through a global RHD premiere earlier in March 2022.

Pakistan is the only country outside of China to produce the latest model of Changan Oshan X7.

The press release quoted the company's CEO Danial Malik in a ceremony in Karachi, “We are delighted and proud to lead Pakistan into a new chapter for the auto industry and make its mark on a global level”.

“The Changan Oshan X7 is the first of many more vehicles to be exported under our vision to stay Future Forward, Forever and the Auto Industry Development and Export Policy (AIDEP 2021-26)”, he added.

The company further added that Pakistan is Changan’s first and only RHD manufacturing base and is helping the brand expand globally.

It added that the state-of-the-art plant was completed in a record time of just 13 months and now has the capacity to produce 50,000 vehicles annually.

“Master Changan is our first RHD production base and we are very happy to export our RHD Oshan X7 SUV from Pakistan”, Steven Zhao – Vice CEO Master Changan Motors Limited stated.

Riaz Haq said…
Arif Habib Limited

Auto Sales Data

Apr’22: 22,370 units; +30% YoY; -18% MoM
10MFY22: 227,981 units, +50% YoY

Riaz Haq said…
World Bank on Economic Growth in Pakistan: Tweet by Bilal I Gilani on Twitter

Bilal I Gilani
Supported by higher growth and the recovery in the manufacturing and services sectors,
the poverty headcount, measured at the lower-middle-income class line of US$3.20 PPP
2011 per day, is estimated to have declined from 37.0 percent in FY20 to 34.0 percent in
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan’s #Manufacturing (LSMI) grew by 26.6% YoY during March 2022 and 10.4% YoY during July-March FY22 as compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year. #PTI #imrankhanPTI #economy @PTIofficial @ImranKhanPTI

May 13, 2022 (MLN): Pakistan’s Large Scale Manufacturing Industries (LSMI) production grew by 26.6% YoY during March 2022 which was the highest YoY increase after May’21, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reported on Thursday.

On a month-on-month basis, the LSMI growth witnessed an increase of 8.2% in the month against the previous month, whereas on average, the LSM grew by 10.4% YoY during July-March FY22 as compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year.

The growth during the month of March’22 was led by the Furniture, Food, and Apparel sectors as they posted growth of 186.5% YoY, 85% YoY, and 78.6% YoY respectively followed by Other Manufacturing (Football) (64.1% YoY), Wood Products (32.6% YoY), Automobiles (26% YoY), Chemical products (17.1% YoY), Fertilizer (16.9% YoY), Pharmaceuticals (12.6% YoY), Paper & Board (11.6% YoY), Iron & Steel Products (11.2% YoY), Petroleum Products (8.1% YoY), Computer, electronics and Optical Products (6% YoY), Textile (5.1% YoY), Non-Metallic Mineral Products (4.2% YoY), and Rubber Products (0.2% YoY).

While the industries that contracted during the month were Beverages (-6% YoY), Tobacco (-1.4% YoY), Leather Products (-7.6% YoY), Machinery and Equipment (-10.9% YoY), Fabricated Metal (-6.1% YoY), Electrical Equipment (-1.5% YoY), and Other Transport Equipment (-11.7% YoY).

On a cumulative basis, during 9MFY22 out of 22 major industries, 17 posted positive growth while the rest of the 5 industries' witnessed a decline.

The sector-wise performance revealed that the production in Food, Beverages, Tobacco, Textile, Chemicals, Automobiles, Iron & Steel Products, Leather Products and Paper & Paperboard sectors have surged by 11.7% YoY, 0.7% YoY, 16.7% YoY, 10.61% YoY, 3.2% YoY, 7.8% YoY, 54.1% YoY, 16.5% YoY, 1.5% YoY, and 8.5% YoY respectively during Jul-March FY22, compared to the performance in Jul-March FY21.

On the other hand, the dismal numbers were witnessed in Pharmaceuticals, Rubber Products, Fabricated Metal, Electrical Equipment, and Other Transport Equipment industries as their production dropped by 0.4% YoY, 20.6% YoY, 7.2% YoY, 1.1% YoY, and 10.2% YoY respectively during 9MFY22.

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan LSM (large scale manufacturing) sector grows 10.4% in Jul 2021-Mar 2022

The economic advisory wing of the finance ministry (now under PMLN), which till March (under PTI) had been predicting around 5% overall growth rate, has suddenly cut the forecast to 4% in its latest publication.

Contrary to that, the Planning Commission expects the growth rate in the range of 5% to 5.4%, which will be higher than the last PTI government’s target for the current fiscal year.


Big industries grew 10.4% during the first nine months of current fiscal year on the back of a low base effect and better output in sugar and apparel sectors, increasing prospects of achieving around 5% overall economic growth in this fiscal year.

Large-scale manufacturing (LSM) industries recorded 10.4% growth during July-March of the ongoing fiscal year over the same period a year ago, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reported on Friday.

PBS data suggested that the increase largely came from the food sector, which has over one-tenth weight in the LSM index and apparel wear, which has 6.1% weight.

The other factor that contributed to the healthy momentum was the low base, as the index was at 126 in March last year, which jumped to nearly 154 this year.

The past year’s trend suggests that the LSM will post higher growth in April and May as well due to the low base effect.

The 10.4% growth during the first nine months of current fiscal year has strengthened the chances of achieving around 5% gross domestic product (GDP) growth in this fiscal year ending in June.

The increase in sugarcane and sugar production will offset the 1.5 million tons’ decline in wheat production.

The economic advisory wing of the finance ministry, which till March had been predicting around 5% overall growth rate, has suddenly cut the forecast to 4% in its latest publication.

Contrary to that, the Planning Commission expects the growth rate in the range of 5% to 5.4%, which will be higher than the last PTI government’s target for the current fiscal year.

The National Accounts Committee – the body that works out the growth estimates on the basis of input from the provincial and federal government departments – will meet by the mid of next week to approve the provisional growth rate for fiscal year 2021-22.

The new government has decided to revive the stalled International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, which may also result in fiscal and monetary tightening to bring economic stability. This could hurt growth prospects for fiscal year 2022-23.

The previous government had targeted 4.8% economic growth for the current fiscal year. The IMF and other financial institutions have projected Pakistan’s economic growth in the range of 4% to 4.3%, which is a decent rate but nearly half of what is required to create jobs for all new entrants in the market.

The central bank has injected hundreds of billions of rupees into the economy, which provided a fresh impetus to the economic growth but fueled inflation in the country.

The LSM data is collected from three different sources. Data collected by the Oil Companies Advisory Council (OCAC) showed that the output of 36 items increased on an average by 2% in the first nine months of current fiscal year.

The Ministry of Industries, which monitors 11 products, reported a 10.3% increase in output during the July-March period. Provincial Bureaus of Statistics reported 12.1% growth in the output of 76 goods, stated the PBS.

On a yearly basis, the LSM sector showed 26.6% growth in March over the same month of last year. However, half of the increase in March output was because of increased production of sugar by the mills.

The industries that posted growth in the first nine months of current fiscal year included textile, which registered 3.2% growth.

The textile industry is the largest sector in the LSM index, having 18.2% weight. The production of apparel wear increased 34% during the first nine months of FY22.
Riaz Haq said…
US offers strong support to rebuild #Pakistan’s #economy. #US “will continue to work bilaterally on ways to grow #investment & #trade opportunities to build a prosperous & stable Pakistan...welcomes the ongoing #IMF deliberations" #BilawalBhuttoZardari

• State Department confirms Blinken will meet Bilawal
• FM says will take Pakistan’s message to UN
• IMF review talks with Pakistan start in Doha today

WASH­­INGTON/ISLAMABAD: Hou­rs after Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari arrived in New York on Tuesday for a series of meetings with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, a State Department spokesperson assured Pakistan of strong US support for their efforts to rebuild the Pakistani economy.

The United States “will continue to work bilaterally on ways to grow investment and trade opportunities to build a prosperous and stable Pakistan,” the spokesperson told Dawn in Washington.

The United States also “welcomes the ongoing International Monetary Fund (IMF) deliberations with Pakistan,” the spokesperson added.

Also, IMF sources in Washington confirmed that Pakistan and the IMF would start their review talks in Doha on Wednesday (today) to strike a staff-level agreement for the release of a $1 billion tranche under an Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

The week-long review will be an opportunity for Pakistan to convince the IMF to revive a stalled $6bn package for stabilising its cash-starved economy.

A public expression of US support would boost Islamabad’s efforts to revive the programme and could smooth bullish market trends as well.

The spokesperson also confirmed media reports of a one-on-one meeting between Secretary Blinken and Mr Bhutto-Zardari.

“We confirm Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Bhutto-Zardari will meet one-on-one and cover a number of bilateral concerns in a follow-up to their May 6 call,” the US official said.

Earlier, the foreign minister told journalists in New York that he would share Pakistan’s perspective on various issues with the international community in his UN engagements.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari is attending a UN ministerial meeting of Global Food Security Call for Action and the Security Council’s open debate on maintenance of international peace, with a focus on conflict and food security.

The US mission to the United Nations initiated both meetings to highlight how the Feb 24 Russian invasion of Ukraine was threatening global food security.

“We are here to share Pakistan’s message with the United Nations,” said Mr Bhutto-Zardari while talking to a group of Pakistani journalists at New York’s JFK airport.

The PTI had earlier planned a protest on his arrival but later they canceled the programme. Even PML-N supporters stayed away from the small PPP crowd that gathered at the airport to welcome their leader.

The foreign minister took an Emirates flight, which was delayed by a medical emergency. Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s entourage included a senior official from his ministry and some members of his personal staff. He was received by Ambassador Munir Akram, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN, its US envoy Ambassador Masood Khan and other senior officials of the two missions.

Renewal of ties with US

Speaking about Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s maiden official visit to the US, other upcoming overseas trips, and the external policy priorities of the new government at Foreign Office in Islamabad, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar told the media the government was committed to renewal of ties with the US.

She said Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s meeting with Secretary Blinken provides “a useful opportunity” for strengthening bilateral engagement with the US.
Riaz Haq said…
Current Account Deficit shrunk to $623mn, in Apr 22; only two-thirds of Mar22 deficit of $1015mn. A rise in workers’ remittances (by $315mn) & a fall in imports (by $246mn) explain this reduction. Cumulatively, CAD reached $13,779mn during Jul-Apr FY22.
Riaz Haq said…
Arif Habib Limited
Current Account Balance Apr’22

CAB: $-623mn (+132% YoY, -39% MoM)
Remittances: $3.1bn (+12% YoY, +11% MoM)
Total imports: $7.0bn (+25% YoY, -3% MoM)
Total exports: $3.8bn (+35% YoY, +1% MoM)
Riaz Haq said…
Arif Habib Limited
Monthly Technology exports witnessed at USD 249mn during Apr’22, up by 29% YoY while down by 4% MoM.
During 10MFY22, technology recorded exports worth $ 2.2bn marking a 29% YoY jump.


According to the State Bank of Pakistan data, in April 2022, ICT export remittances grew to $249 million up by 29 percent, compared to $193 million reported in April 2021.

However, ICT export remittances declined by 4 percent on a month-on-month basis in April 2022 when compared to $260 million in March 2022.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that Pakistan offers huge opportunities for investments in the technology sector and the government intends to increase IT exports from $1.5 billion to $15 billion in the coming years.

For achieving this target, the premier said that foreign tech companies would be facilitated in all respects with regard to investment, expansion, and close collaboration.

The Ministry of Information Technology presented recommendations in the last cabinet to enhance software exports. The cabinet told the ministry to present recommendations before the Economic Coordination Committee and later again before the cabinet.

Speaking at the meeting, PM Sharif said Pakistan had a huge potential for investment and exports in the IT sector which needed to be exploited.

Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haq has directed the PSEB to take every possible step to achieve the target of IT export remittances. He said that under the prime minister’s vision of “Digital Pakistan”, it is vital to take forward all the matters related to information technology and connect the youth especially students to the digital world.

Riaz Haq said…
Remittances to Reach $630 billion in 2022 with Record Flows into Ukraine

Remittances to South Asia grew 6.9 percent to $157 billion in 2021. Though large numbers of South Asian migrants returned to home countries as the pandemic broke out in early 2020, the availability of vaccines and opening of Gulf Cooperation Council economies enabled a gradual return to host countries in 2021, supporting larger remittance flows. Better economic performance in the United States was also a major contributor to the growth in 2021. Remittance flows to India and Pakistan grew by 8 percent and 20 percent, respectively. In 2022, growth in remittance inflows is expected to slow to 4.4 percent. Remittances are the dominant source of foreign exchange for the region, with receipts more than three times the level of FDI in 2021. South Asia has the lowest average remittance cost of any world region at 4.3 percent, though this is still higher than the SDG target of 3 percent.
Riaz Haq said…
GDP growth estimated at 5.97pc for FY 2021-22
By Ghulam Abbas

Pakistan has estimated the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the range of approximately 6 percent for the current fiscal year with the major contributions of industrial and services sectors.

Unlike the IMF projection of a 4 percent GDP growth rate for Pakistan, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz led government has estimated a 5.97 percent provisional GDP growth rate for the year 2021-22.

The 105th meeting of the National Accounts Committee to review the final, revised and provisional estimates of GDP for the years 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 respectively was held on Wednesday under the chair of Secretary, MoPD&SI.

The provisional GDP growth rate for the year 2021-22 is estimated at 5.97% as broad-based growth was witnessed in all sectors of the economy.

Article continues after this advertisement
The growth of agricultural, industrial and services sectors is 4.40%, 7.19% and 6.19% respectively. Similarly, the growth of important crops during this year is 7.24%.

The growth in production of important crops namely Cotton, Rice, Sugarcane and Maize are estimated at 17.9%, 10.7%, 9.4% and 19.0% respectively.

The cotton crop increased from 7.1 million bales reported last year to 8.3 million bales; Rice production increased from 8.4 million tons to 9.3 million tons; Sugarcane production increased from 81.0 million tons to 88.7 million tons; Maize production increased from 8.4 million tons to 10.6 million tons respectively, whole Wheat production decreased from 27.5 million tons to 26.4 million tons. Other crops showed growth of 5.44% mainly because of an increase in the production of pulses, vegetables, fodder, oilseeds and fruits. The livestock sector is showing a growth of 3.26%. The growth of forestry is 3.13% and fishing is at 0.35%.

The overall industrial sector shows an increase of 7.19%. The mining and quarrying sector has decreased by 4.47% due to a decline in the production of other minerals as well as a decline in exploration costs. The Large Scale Manufacturing industry is driven primarily by QIM data (from July 2021 to March 2022) which shows an increase of 10.4%. Major contributors to this growth are Food (11.67%), Tobacco (16.7%), Textile (3.19%), Wearing Apparel (33.95%), Wood Products (157.5%), Chemicals (7.79%), Iron & Steel Products (16.55%), Automobiles (54.10%), Furniture (301.83%) and other manufacturing (37.83%). The electricity, gas and water industry shows a growth of 7.86% mainly due to an increase in subsidies in 2021-22. The value-added in the construction industry, mainly driven by construction-related expenditures by industries, has registered a modest growth of 3.14% mainly due to an increase in general government spending.

The services sector shows a growth of 6.19%. The wholesale and Retail Trade industry grew by 10.04%. It is dependent on the output of agriculture, manufacturing and imports. The growth in trade value-added relating to agriculture, manufacturing and imports stands at 3.99%, 9.82% and 19.93% respectively. Transportation & Storage industry has increased by 5.42% due to an increase in gross value addition of railways (41.85%), air transport (26.56%), road transport (4.99%) and storage. Accommodation and food services activities have increased by 4.07%. Similarly, Information and communication increased by 11.9% due to improvements in telecommunication, computer programming, consultancy and related activities.

Riaz Haq said…
GDP growth estimated at 5.97pc for FY 2021-22
By Ghulam Abbas

The finance and insurance industry shows an overall increase of 4.93% mainly due to an increase in deposits and loans. Real estate activities grew by 3.7% while public administration and social security (general government) activities posted negative growth of 1.23% due to high deflators. Education has witnessed a growth of 8.65% due to public sector expenditure. Human health and social work activities also increased by 2.25% due to general government expenditures. The provisional growth in other private services is 3.76%.

Overall, the GDP of the country at current market prices has reached Rs.66.949 trillion in 2021-22 which has resulted in an increase in per capita income from Rs.268,223 in 2020-21 to Rs.314,353 in 2021-22 besides the volume of the economy in dollars in 2021-22 stands at $383 billion.

According to details, the meeting also updated the provisional GDP estimates for the year 2020-21 and revised GDP estimates for the year 2019-20 presented in the 104th meeting of the NAC held in January 2022 on the basis of the latest available data.

The final growth rate of GDP for the year 2019-20 has been estimated at -0.94% which was -1.0% in the revised estimates. The revised growth rate of GDP for the year 2020-21 is 5.74% which was provisionally estimated at 5.57%.

The crop sub-sector has improved from 5.92% to 5.96%. The other crops have improved from provisional growth of 8.08% to 8.27% in revised estimates. The growth of the industrial sector in the revised estimates is 7.81% which was 7.79% in the provisional estimates while the growth of the services sector has improved from 5.7% to 6.0%.

Controversy about Chief Economist’s resignation:

Earlier on Wednesday, it emerged that Chief Economist Planning commission Dr Ahmad Zubair resigned from the position owing to exerting pressure from the high ups of planning and finance ministries on GDP numbers.

Sources on the condition of anonymity said that the Minister for planning and the minister of State for finance Ayesha Ghous Pasha have asked the relevant people in the planning commission to sit with the principal economic advisor Finance ministry on growth numbers with contending that GDP growth would be around 4% in the current fiscal year.

When the official of the planning commission stated that they had made a presentation to the previous minister for planning that as per the statistics of production data of various sectors indicates that GDP growth would be around 5.5 to 6 percent upon this minister of state for finance said that there was a shortfall in the projected projection of wheat crop. The official replied that even with this shortfall of 0.1 million metric tons, the production of sugarcane, rice and cotton as well as tomatoes was considerably higher.

Officials further stated that it would not be possible to show less growth on the basis of data available to all the stakeholders therefore such an effort would affect the compromise of PBS data.

Later on, a letter issued by Ahmad Zubair stated that there is news trending on social and electronic media that I resigned from the position of Chief Economist, planning Commission on account of manipulation attempts concerning FY22 GDP growth estimates. I would like to state that PBS has the mandate to estimate National accounts and that the M/PD&SI has no role in matters related to estimating GDP growth.

Riaz Haq said…
Islamabad [Pakistan], May 15 (ANI): Pakistan’s oil and eatable import bill surged by 58.98 per cent to USD 24.77 billion in the months of July and April even the country battles a fast declining economy, owing to an increase in international prices and a massive depreciation of the rupee.

When compared to last year’s import bill of USD 44.73 billion, the country’s overall import bill spiked by 46.51 per cent to USD 65.53 in ten months ending October 2022, reported the Dawn newspaper. The share of these products also faced an increase of 37.79 per cent. The sharp ascent in these two sectors has resulted in trade deficits in Pakistan, adding pressure on the government’s external side.

Further, data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics revealed that the import bill on oil has increased by over 95.84 per cent to USD 17.03 billion in 10MFY22. Further, the import of petroleum products increased by 121.15 per cent in value and 24.17 per cent in quantity, crude oil imports witnessed a hike of 75.34pc in value and 1.36pc in quantity while there was a sharp rise of 39.86 per cent in the value of liquefied petroleum gas imports.

Reportedly, in order to close the gap in food production, the food import bill had a surge of over 12.30 per cent to USD 7.74 billion in 10MFY22, reported the Dawn newspaper. The import bill in Pakistan is likely to spike further in the following months as the Pakistan government has decided to import about 4 million tonnes of wheat and 0.6 million tonnes of sugar to build strategic reserves, reported the Dawn newspaper.

Meanwhile, there was also a steady increase in edible oil imports in terms of both value and quantity. The value of the palm oil import bill was also hiked by 44.64 per cent to USD 3.09 billion in ten months ending October 2022, up from USD 2.14 billion in 10MFY21. This in turn resulted in a domestic price surge in vegetable ghee and cooking oil.

Notably, the import of soybean oil ascended by 101.96 per cent in value and 9.30 per cent in quantity this year while wheat imports had a decline of 19.12 per cent to 2.206 million tonnes from 3.61 million tonnes in the previous year, reported the Dawn newspaper. Pakistan witnessed a zero wheat import in the month of April.

Also, in comparison to 280,377 tonnes of sugar imports in Pakistan last year, this year there was a hike of about 49.52 per cent to 311,851 tonnes of sugar import. There was also a rapid surge in the import bill of tea, spices, and pulses as well.

Meanwhile, according to a report released by the Global Report on Food Crises, Pakistan’s Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces are suffering from acute food shortages. A hike in food and fuel prices, drought conditions, livestock diseases, and unemployment issues have contributed to the rise in national food rates.

Further, ahead of the delay in the revival of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme and falling foreign currency reserves, the Pakistani rupee hit an all-time low against the US Dollar, crippling the country’s economy further. (ANI)

Popular posts from this blog

Olive Revolution: Pakistan Joins International Olive Council

Pakistani-American Banker Heads SWIFT, The World's Biggest InterBank Payments System

Pakistani Women's Growing Particpation in Workforce