ISLAMABAD (Staff Report) – A week after Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced the Federal Budget for FY 2016/17, he is being accused of presenting inaccurate economic growth figures in the Economic Survey of Pakistan by some opposition lawmakers and an independent think tank has also accused the minister for the same.
The Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC) is a Pakistan-based think tank which closely monitors Pakistan’s economic development and regularly publishes reports on the topic. Former interim Prime Minister and renowned economist Moeen Qureshi is currently serving as patron of the forum while former Finance Secretary Saeed Qureshi and former State Bank Governor Dr Ishrat Hussain are also members of its governing body.
The SPDC report on Pakistan’s economic growth rate categorically states that country’s GDP grew at a rate of 3.1% during fiscal year 2015-16 instead of 4.7%. Within the region, this is the lowest growth rate recorded this year, higher only than growth in war-torn Afghanistan.
On the other hand, Ishaq Dar asserts that a 4.7% economic growth rate was recorded in the outgoing financial year, which is highest in the last eight years.
It is worth noting here that if GDP grew at 3.1% duirng 2015-16, it would be lowest GDP growth rate in last seven years, including the first two years of current PMLN government.
The PSDC report further argues that during the last four decades whenever Pakistan’s agricultural sector has witnessed a decline, the GDP growth rate has never jumped above 4%. It also claimed that electricity generation rate was recorded to be only 2% in the last year, which is another indication of low GDP growth rate.
It is also pertinent to be mentioned here that Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had, last month, offered to engage some international economic experts to resolve the recent controversy over the calculation of GDP growth rate. However, no practical measures have been taken to this effect so far.