Economy is on ventilator: Sherry

Web DeskWeb Editor

28th Aug, 2021. 06:58 pm
PPP Imran Khan

LAHORE. PPP leader Senator Sherry Rehman has rejected the PTI led federal government’s claim that the economy has been put on the right track, stating that food prices in the country have increased by 14.8% during May 2020 to May 2021.

“It is shocking that food inflation has doubled in the past 3 years. From 5.5% in 2018, it rose to 10.48% in 2021. Whereas our inflation rate is currently averaging at almost 11% which is higher than both India and Bangladesh,”Rehman said in a statement issued on Saturday.

“It is shocking that our economic growth rate has decreased by 29.3%,” she added.

According to the PPP leader, the government on the one hand is painting a rosy picture of its performance in the last three years while on the other hand the World Bank states that food prices have tremendously increased. She said around 68% of the population is now unable to afford a healthy diet.

“Unemployment rate has jumped from 6.2% to 15%. In 2020, over 20 lac [2 million] people were unemployed which is almost a quarter of the 1 crore jobs that PTI had promised.

“The income earned by over 6.7 million Pakistanis has declined in the last two years. Poverty has increased to 40% and over 20 lac people have fallen below the poverty line,” she added.

Rehman said in the last 3 years, the public debt has increased to Rs38.006 trillion. This amount, she said, is double of what the PPP’s last government took and more than half of the PML-N government’s share.

“While the PTI was busy celebrating not taking a loan from the State Bank in a year, the circular debt doubled to Rs2.28 trillion,” she added.

Talking with reference to the rising Current Account Deficit (CAD), Rehman said the current account is back in deficit while foreign direct investment has dipped by 39%.

“So, why was the PTI government celebrating a surplus in both? CAD showed a surplus due to historical dip in international prices amid global Covid-19 crisis while the FDI improved only due to China’s investment in CPEC projects,” she said.

Rehman accused the PTI government of hiding key debt statistics, and presenting dubious Gross Domestic Product (GDP) statistics to hide its “incompetence”.

“Our food inflation is highest in the region, and the unemployment rate has jumped from 6% to 15%. Wheat, sugar and oil crisis has caused losses worth billions. Pakistan’s economy is on the ventilator so what exactly has the government done which is worth celebrating?” she asked.

The PPP leader claimed that the reality is far different from what the government is telling people.

“With all the key macroeconomic indicators faring poorly in the face of the three years of PTI governance, it is shocking to see the self-congratulatory media appearances while millions in Pakistan are suffering from poverty, food insecurity and unemployment.

“Unfortunately, the future does not look too bright with the unapologetic increase in public debt and current account deficit, Pakistan is going to struggle on the global scale,” Sherry Rehman said.

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