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Opinion

October 23, 2018
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From Musharraf to the PTI

Opinion

October 23, 2018

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Since August 18 this year, the PTI has been painting a doomsday scenario of the economy, saying that the PML-N left a time bomb which has started ticking.

Musharraf, who ruled from 1999 till 2007, too had said that the economy was in a state of collapse. The PPP’s period lasted from 2008 till 2013. Their finance minister said that they had “inherited an economy in shambles”.

The PML-N’s last government was in power governed from 2013 till 2018. They said that they had “inherited a collapsed economy, low growth, high inflation and high fiscal deficit...”

To separate fact from fiction, key economic indicators need to be analysed. Musharraf increased reserves from $1.9 to $11.4 billion. The PPP left $7.2 billion. The PML-N reached a record high of $19.4 billion but ended at $10 billion in FY18. Reserves were $8.3 billion on October 5, 2018. No government could avert the IMF. The PTI may borrow $15 billion.

Musharraf increased the current account deficit from 0.7 percent of GDP to 4.2 percent. The PPP reduced it drastically from 8.2 percent to 1.1 percent. The PML-N ended at 5.8 percent ($18 billion) in FY18. In July 2018 it was 8.3 percent ($2.2 billion) and in August 2.3 percent ($0.6 billion) – a big drop. The dollar-rupee rate increased from 52 to 61, a 17 percent increase when Musharraf left. The PPP increased it by 61 percent to 98. The PML-N increased it by 24 percent to 121. In October 2018, it is 133.

Musharraf increased trade deficit from 2.1 percent of GDP to 8.9 percent. The PPP maintained it at 8.9 percent. The PML-N ended at 9.9 percent ($31 billion). In July 2018 it was 13.6 percent ($3.5 billion) and in Aug 9.2 percent ($2.4 billion). Exports reached a high of 13.5 percent of GDP during Musharraf’s period but ended at 11 percent. The PPP remained at 10.6 percent while the PML-N managed 7.9 percent ($25 billion). In August 2018 it was 8 percent ($2 billion).

Exports are limited to textiles (55 percent) and rice (8 percent). Dawood Razak’s target is $25 billion. Imports rose from 15 percent to 20 percent of GDP during Musharraf’s government. The PPP reduced them to 19.4 percent and the PML-N reduced it further to 18 percent ($56 billion). In August 2018 it was 17.3 percent ($4.5 billion).

Remittances were $5.5 billion in Musharraf’s term. They increased to $14 billion in the PPP’s time and $20 billion in the PML-N’s. Remittances growth dropped drastically to one percent in FY18 from double digits. Imran Khan’s target of $40 billion seems unrealistic. FDI increased from $120 million to $5 billion during Musharraf’s term. In the PPP’s time it dropped to $1.3 billion and in the PML-N’s to $2.8 billion. Pakistan’s Doing Business ranking dropped from 76th in 2007 to 147th in 2017. KSE100 Index has dropped 11.6 percent since August 20 this year. The PTI will need to address the prevailing economic and political uncertainty.

Musharraf increased GDP to 5.5 percent peaking at 9 percent. In FY09 it dropped it to 0.4 percent but the PPP ended with 3.7 percent. The PML-N managed 5.8 percent. The IMF has dampened the PTI’s grand plans with a growth rate of 3 percent, policy rate at 15 percent and inflation at 14 percent. Musharraf reduced the budget deficit from 4.9 percent to 4.1 percent of GDP. The PPP increased it from 7.3 percent to 8.2 percent. The PML-N ended at 6.6 percent (legal limit 4 percent) and borrowed Rs2,260 billion in FY18.

During Musharraf’s period, government expenditure financed through borrowing was 22 percent, PPP 36 percent, PML-N 27 percent. The tax-to-GDP ratio declined from 9.5 percent during Musharraf’s period to 8.7 percent in the PPP’s time. The PML-N increased it to 11.2 percent (Rs3,842 billion). The IMF has proposed 15 percent, a daunting task. Agriculture – with 19 percent share in GDP – contributes only one percent to taxes.

Gross public debt during Musharraf’s time dropped from 79 percent of GDP (Rs3,018 billion) to 53 percent (Rs4,846 billion) in FY07. The PPP increased it from 58 percent (Rs6,128 billion) to 64 percent (Rs14,292 billion) in FY13. The PML-N reached 73 percent (Rs24,952 billion).

PSE debt was Rs220 billion in June 2007 (16 percent of total). The PPP added Rs276 billion (20 percent), while the PML-N increased it by Rs898 billion (64 percent) to end at Rs1,393 billion.

The IMF recommends privatisation. PIA’s accumulated losses from 1998 to 2007 were Rs23 billion (6 percent). The PPP added Rs119 billion (33 percent) while the PML-N added Rs222 billion (61 percent) to end at about Rs364 billion. It is difficult to imagine PIA competing with Gulf airlines. Steel Mills profit were Rs9.5 billion during Musharraf’s time. The PPP recorded a loss of Rs119 billion; the PML-N increased it by Rs81 billion to Rs200 billion.

Oil prices increased from $25 in Dec 1999 per barrel to $90 by Dec 2007 (313 percent increase) during Musharraf’s period. The PPP faced over $90 in their term. The average in the PML-N’s time was $55. The PTI started at $73 but is now faced with $85. Gasoline’s average price increased from Rs26/litre to Rs56 (115 percent increase) during Musharraf’s period. The PPP increased it to Rs101 (80 percent) but the PML-N decreased it to Rs78 (-23 percent). In October this year, it increased to Rs93 (19 percent).

The total installed capacity increased to 29,573 MW by February 2017. In this, Musharraf’s contribution is 16 percent, PPP 28 percent and PML-N 56 percent. Considering the last four years of each government, Musharraf’s contribution was 30 percent, PPP 32 percent and PML-N 38 percent in electricity generation. In 2006, the circular debt was Rs87 billion. In August 2018, it was Rs1,200 billion. Musharraf added Rs145 billion (12.6 percent), PPP Rs727 billion (63.2 percent) and PML-N Rs279 billion (24.2 percent). No government has found a solution.

There is no doubt that the economy has been mismanaged. Past governments have been facing similar economic circumstances and governance realities as the PTI, whose main problem is tackling the expectations of its voters. International agencies are also culprits of the mess due to their propensity to provide loans for perpetuating poor governance and corruption. After signing the agreement with the IMF, the PTI’s 100-day agenda and election promises will be compromised. The new captain, the IMF, will carry out a heart transplant as it is not satisfied with Asad Umar’s bypass. ‘IMF ka Pakistan’ will replace ‘Naya Pakistan’.

The writer is a former member of the National Reconstruction Bureau.

Email: [email protected]

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