Aliya Shabbir
THE Planning Commission is a financial and public policy development institution of the Government of Pakistan . The commissions have had a major influence and role in formulating the highly centralised and planned five-year plans for the national economy. Although the five-year plans were replaced by Medium Term Development Framework, the commission still played an influential and central role in the development of the programme. Furthermore, the Public Sector Development Programmes (PSDP) also placed under the domain of the Planning Commission. The commission’s authoritative figures include a Chairman who is the Prime Minster, assisted by the deputy chairman who is a Federal Minster.
The planning went smoothly till late sixties/early seventies; however, after that something went wrong, likes so many other things which went wrong in Pakistan . Though the 5 years plans were regularly and meticulously prepared and published but the actual achievements of the planned activities were never truly or correctly disseminated. By the end year of every plan, either the Government changed or its priorities changed.
Each government, though, has advertised the development plans with much fanfare claiming to achieve unrealistic, unachievable and non-sustainable growth rates. The plans of the last 4 decades are proofs of its fakery. We don’t have to go in the past to prove our points.
The latest gimmickry is the statement of our Federal Minister of Planning and Development Ahsan lqbal that the Government has laid foundation of economic development in last nine months and by 2025 Pakistan will be among top ten big economies. He said the ‘Government is in the process of finalising Vision 2025, which will be the vision of Pakistan , not the vision of one political party’. The following assumptions can be deduced from this statement;
A.    The Govt has physically commenced mega infrastructure projects thus laying the foundation for increased productions in all major sectors of economy. We hardly see any project taking off the ground except couple of unfinished and moribund projects of the last government. Though we hear a lot of hustle bustle of $32 billion of China’s investment in Pakistan , but the Chinese condition for investment is exemption from PEPRA rules which makes it a non-starter and its exemption granted shall be subject to long legal battle.
B.    The second assumption is that all the future governments shall stick to the Vision 2025. Have all the major political parties in the run for future Governments i.e. Pakistan People’s Party and Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) have been on board while finalising the Vision 2025.
C.    The third assumption is that Pakistan in 15 years i.e. till 2025 shall be in the top 10 economics of the world.
This is a wishful thinking of the planners and is meant to gain political mileage because the following facts belie their wild claim.
The following are top 10 economics of the world in 2012.
    Country            GDP/BILL US$
    1.    USA        15,680
    2.    China    .    8,227
    3.    Japan        5,964
    4.    Germany        3,401
    5.    France        2,609
    6.    United Kingdom    2,441
    7.    Brazil        2,396
    8.    Russia        2,053
    9.    Italy        2,014
    10.    India        1,872

    44.     Pakistan        232

Pakistan is at No 44 in the world economics with GDP of $238 billion
D.    The claim seeks to push one of the 10 countries mentioned above from top ten to make way for Pakistan . The only economy which we can dream of pushing out is India with its GDP growth of 5.8pc (average of last 3 years). The other countries are too large even to dream of competing with.
E.    Pakistan’s economy with its current GDP size of $238 billion is growing at 3.9pc annual growth (average of last 3 years). Now look at the comparison;
    Year     India    Pakistan
    2012    $1,841 billion    $232 billion    $ 232 billion
        yoy growth of 5.8%    yoy growth of 3.9%    yoy growth of 24%
    2025    $3,831 billion    780 billion    $3,784 billion

Does Pakistan economy really have the capacity to increase yoy by 24pc for 10-12 years? The answer is no, is it realistic? Is it achievable?
The highest average GDP Growth rate for 2003-2013 (for 10 years) is 13.4pc for Qatar and 10.3pc for China while for India is 7.6pc. Even the basic requirement to give impetus to growth of economy which is energy is vanishing. Both industrially/ commercially advanced provinces i.e. Punjab and Sindh are under performing. Punjab’s industrial growth is scuttled due to lack of energy. Even in May when the day temperature is 40c, the gas availability to industry is only 8 hours per day while electric loadshedding (announced and unannounced) is around 10 hours daily in big cities and 14-16 hours daily in small towns. The gas reserves shall vanish in 2029, as per website of Sui Northern Gar Pipelines Ltd.
So the Vision 2025 is a non-starter. The goals could be a wishful thinking or, shall we say, magniloquent. What is really wrong with us, our planner and our government fancier?