LAHORE – The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) said on Wednesday that the five-year tenure of the PPP was the worst-ever for the economy, but the PTI would revive it after coming to power as a result of the next elections.

Asad Omar and Jehangir Tareen, the architects of the party’s Economic Vision, told senior journalists that their party would take emergency steps to improve the economy, which was on the verge of collapse.

For this purpose, they said, the energy sector would be reformed, and institutional reforms would be introduced to uproot corruption, strengthen the system of accountability and improve governance. Revenue collection reforms, expenditures reforms and human capital development were also part of the PTI agenda, they added.

Tareen said the Economic Vision had been worked out in consultation with economists and university professors. He said it was regrettable that the economy started moving for a few years when foreign assistance was pumped in, but the moment it was withheld, the situation went back to square one.

Successive governments, he pointed out, had spent more than the national resources and had also failed to collect due taxes. The PTI, he said, was determined to bring about fundamental changes in the system.

Omar said free market economy system did not suit a country like Pakistan; therefore, the state must have a role in it. Referring to the performance of the present government in the economic sector, he said, the average GDP growth stood at 3 per cent per year, while the inflation was highest ever in the country’s history. As a result, many countries in the region were performing far better than Pakistan.

A bad economy, he said, was also adversely affecting other sectors. In his opinion, in Pakistan the mortality rate was higher than even Sudan, because of which construction of flyovers was not the right priority. About the literacy rate, he said, even Liberia and Nigeria were ahead of Pakistan.

Despite this depressing scenario, Omar said, the PTI could change the situation by implementing its vision. He said more funds would be allocated to the education, health and other social sectors. “A uniform system of education would be introduced to transform Pakistan into a well-united nation,” he maintained.

The system of tax collection would be improved and the moneyed people would be made to pay according to their incomes, said Omar, adding that agriculture would be taxed, but holdings less than 50 acres would be exempted.

“The role of politicians would be confined to decision making, the number of ministries reduced to 17, wasteful expenditure eliminated, more job opportunities created, the national wealth siphoned abroad brought back, low-cost housing introduced for the low-income groups and all non-targeted subsidies done away with. The energy sector would get special attention because no country could progress without it,” Omar concluded.