In its annual report on the world’s economy, ‘Global Economic Prospects 2012’, the World Bank has predicted that the global economy will grow only 2.5 percent, weighed down by the effects of the 2008 global slowdown. It has predicted 3.9 percent growth for Pakistan, a significant level higher than the world average, but still well below the historic levels observed in the past. The World Bank noted that growth in the previous year had been 2.4 percent. The report observed that the weak growth was tied to the worsening security situation, greater political uncertainty and weaker policy implementation. The report notes as a bright spot the increase in exports, though it notes the fall in export volume growth in October.

The report makes sobering reading. It indicates that Pakistan has experienced one consequence of globalization, that of linked growth. However, the government has also to pay attention to the fact that it has a rapidly growing population to feed, and at the same time, the country is supposed to progress, something which is only possible if the growth rate is a great deal higher than at present. At the same time, as the populace has faced unconscionably low growth, it has also experienced a rise in inflation, which has taken prices to levels previously unheard of.

The government at this point in time should recognize that the security situation has been worsening since its participation in the war on terror, and if there is any political instability, it is because of its own attitudes, where it has not shown due respect to other state institutions. It should focus itself on the basics, which include ensuring that there is no extravagance in government spending, none of the maintenance of a luxurious lifestyle for members of the government at taxpayers’ expense, that has been its hallmark, but which has not been given a place in the World Bank report. However, it does mention power shortages, an area in which the government has not been paying as much attention as the problem deserves. Even if the World Bank does not counsel restraint in government spending, the message it has given in this report deserves to be taken seriously by the government, and will be ignored by the government only at its own peril.