The Economic survey on Pakistan’s economic year 2017-2018, released on Thursday, at first feels like a win. Numbers circulating noticeable growth in the industrial, agricultural and services sector of the country look exemplary, as does a record-high GDP. However, a closer look at the results of the survey, analysed in context of the history of Pakistan’s economy, reveal that the figures still leave much to be desired when it comes to maximising economic benefits and improving the standard of life.
This does not mean that the government should not pat itself on the back for some of the positive results. An increase in growth of 5.8 percent, all all-time high in thirteen years, is an achievement, especially considering the political instability the country saw in the last year. A good growth figure has cyclical effects, incentivising further international investors to invest in the country, prompting more growth.
However, when seen with the enormous economic project we underwent in the last year, CPEC, a high growth was expected with the large investments being undergone by CPEC. Growth in various industries is an expected outcome of a major economic project like CPEC. Compared to the expected rates of growth due to the exemplary situation, this new figure is actually lacking.
The real monstrous problems facing Pakistan’s economy still stand imperturbable. Despite efforts to placate imports and encourage exports, the statistics of the Survey reveal that Pakistan’s deficit is still at one of its highest rates. The improvement in the balance of payments position would be a major consideration before the next government.
Growth we may have experienced through investment but the toll it has placed on our public debt is alarming. The government has had to resort to bank borrowing to meet fiscal debt. With increasing loans from China, we may have a huge problem on our hands in the years to come.