Expecting Dar’s resignation for economic catastrophe: PTI Spokesperson
Expecting Dar’s resignation for economic catastrophe: PTI Spokesperson
Says govt led to ‘never seen before’ crisis, rendering 8m jobless, bringing 18m below poverty line
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Spokesperson said that they expected Ishaq Dar to hand over his resignation and apologize to the nation for unleashing record-high 38% inflation on the citizens, crippling the economy with 0% growth and taking the economy on the brink of default with SBP reserves falling below $ 4 billion.
In response to Ishaq Dar press conference, PTI spokesperson said that the Economic Survey FY2023 paints a truly dismal picture of the economy. Under the PDM government, economic activity has collapsed to a standstill with 0% growth in the current year (0.3% to be exact), compared to two years of nearly 6% growth under the PTI government.
“The epic failure of the PDM government has led to a ‘never seen before’ crisis with 8 million workers becoming unemployed in FY2023, the unemployment rate rising to 10%, and causing nearly 18 million households to fall below the poverty line,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson stated: “To hide his colossal failures Ishaq Dar likes to throw around random numbers and desperately spin fairy tales, as the finance minister cannot even differentiate between nominal GDP and GDP calculated on a purchasing power parity basis. But no one is buying his mumbo jumbo. The IMF has refused to do business with the PDM government, the global markets have shut their doors to Pakistan and even his own party men are openly questioning the stories being spun by Dar.
“The epic failure of his ‘Dar peg’ policy has showcased again why we believe he is unfit for this job, with a complete lack of basic understanding of markets and economic policy. This policy has brought the economy to the brink of a default, with SBP reserves now standing at only $ 3.9bn, not even enough to finance one month of imports. They were $ 10.5 billion at the time of the VONC,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson went on to say that the national accounts committee once again reaffirmed the strong economic performance under the PTI government, as the GDP growth numbers for the last two years of the PTI government have been adjusted higher with the final growth for FY2021 estimated at 5.8% (from 5.7% earlier) and for FY2022 GDP growth has been revised to 6.1% (from 5.97% earlier). This reaffirms the fact that the economy was experiencing the highest levels of growth in the last 17 years and lays to rest all lies peddled by the PDM government about the PTI government’s economic performance. PTI is the only government since 2007 which achieved 2 consecutive years of average 6% growth.
“Growth under the PTI government was broad-based with all sectors of the economy posting record output. Agriculture sector growth of 4.3% in FY2022, is the highest since FY2005. Major crops registered growth of 8.2% which is also the highest since FY2005. This was driven by the National Agriculture emergency program with a focus on upgrading irrigation systems and helping farmers achieve timely payments. The large-scale manufacturing sector posted growth of 11.9% in FY2022, which is even higher than the 11.5% growth in FY2021,” it was said.
The spokesperson states that this is the first time since FY2005 that the industry posted 2 consecutive years of more than 11% growth. This was driven by record $ 32.5bn exports and 22% growth in credit to the private sector in FY2022.
“As a result of the high growth, record job creation was witnessed under the PTI government. According to the PBS Labor Force Survey 2021, a total of 5.5 million new jobs were created in the first three years of the PTI government. On average 1.84 million jobs were created each year, which is nearly double the average 1.1 million jobs created under the PMLN government (2013-2018),” the spokesperson stated.
It was said that if the PTI government had been allowed to complete its 5-year term, we would have delivered on our promise to create 10 million new jobs for the youth. It was this success which led to the PDM government using all means necessary to overthrow Imran Khans government and bulldoze all progress made in the last one year.
The spokesperson says that while the economy has been thrown into a free fall under the PDM government, the central government debt has skyrocketed by Rs 15.6 trillion in just thirteen months. The scale of this is truly shocking and showcases the reckless policies pursued by the PDM regime. To give perspective, the central government debt increased by Rs 18.3 under the entire tenure of the PTI government.
The spokesperson said that similarly, the circular debt has increased by Rs 500bn in the first nine months of the PDM government, whereas it registered a decrease of 1% in FY2022 under the PTI government. This is despite increasing power tariffs for all consumers and removing subsidies for the industry, adding that the much-touted experienced team of the PDM government has failed on nearly all accounts.
“When the PTI government was removed in FY2022, FBR tax collection had increased to Rs 6.1 trillion, a growth of 30% (inflation of only 12.2%). Under the PDM government, the FBR is unlikely to even achieve the Rs 7 trillion mark in the current fiscal year. The collapse of the industry and restrictions on international trade have led to a sharp slowdown in tax collection, with FBR revenues growing at only 16% (despite average inflation of 29.2%),” the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson says that key reforms initiated under PTI including retail sector POS, Track & Trace system for big industries, and Single Window customs facility have all been slowed down deliberately. More than 43 million potential taxpayers identified by FBR have not been targeted while the government is busy imposing regressive tax measures on the public including raising GST tax rates.
“These regressive tax measures have unleashed unprecedented inflation on the masses. Headline inflation skyrocketed to 38% in May 2023, compared to 12.7%(March 2022) under the PTI government. Kitchen expenditures especially of the poorest households have increased more sharply by 45% under the PDM regime, the spokesperson added.
“Never before have the citizens faced such a crushing increase in cost of living, with millions of households falling below the poverty line. All pro-poor expenditures initiated by the PTI government including Sehat cards, Ehsaas ration schemes, langar and panagahs have been shut down. Under the PTI government we scaled up the PM EHSAAS program and during COVID we provided cash assistance to over 15 million households (nearly 45% of total population). On top of this the government has provided free of cost vaccination to over 130 million citizens against COVID,” the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson went on to say that today, despite the increase in budget allocations only 7 million households are being provided assistance despite massive inflation and rising unemployment and poverty, adding that the ‘inclusive’ or bottom-up approach taken by the PTI government entailed providing incentives to those middle-income households, small farmers, youth, women and entrepreneurs that are marginalized in the current system of trickle-down growth. Towards this end the Low Cost Housing program Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar (MPMG) and the Kamyab Pakistan program (KPP) were a huge success.
“According to the SBP, over Rs 366bn has been disbursed under the low cost housing MPMG program, benefitting more than 70,000 first time home buyers across Pakistan,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson stated that the Kamyab Pakistan Program (KPP) of interest free loans promises to uplift incomes and livelihoods of millions of low and middle income households. These are households that are mostly unbanked, have no access to credit and lack resources to undertake productive economic activity, adding that unfortunately, under the PDM regime millions of youth have now been deprived of these programs.
“Despite the financial wizardry of FM Dar, he still cannot hide the epic failures of his government. The path of destruction which has led to the 0% growth, from 6.1%, has been plotted through regressive tax measures, inexplicable import restrictions, and the crowding out of the private sector in the credit markets. Deliberate sabotage of the IMF program under FM Dar has led to a complete loss of confidence with neither development partners nor friendly countries willing to do business with Pakistan,” the spokesperson concluded.
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