Mohammad Arshad Islamabad
Pakistan Economic Survey FY2020-21 highlights the trend of macro-economic indicators, development policies, strategies, as well as sectoral achievements of the economy.
The survey has reviewed the drivers of this year’s growth and highlighted the proactive measures taken by the government that have saved lives as well as livelihoods in the wake of the pandemic.
The survey includes updated information and socio-economic progress of first nine to ten months of FY2020-21.
The first part furnishes a comprehensive analysis of the performance by various sectors of the economy, while the second part provides the time series data pertaining to its different sectors.
The statistical data of all the sectors has been provided by numerous organizations, provincial departments and ministries of the Government of Pakistan.
Pakistan’s economy has experienced unprecedented challenges during the past two years on account of stabilization measures and the Covid-19 outbreak that kept the economy below its potential level.
The Covid-19 pandemic that engulfed the whole world is one-in-a- century event which has exposed the inadequacy of healthcare systems around the world.
The loss of millions of jobs, closure of businesses, and tipping millions into extreme poverty were obvious outcomes all over the globe.
Pakistan has implemented a comprehensive set of measures like the economic stimulus package of Rs 1,240 billion, a construction package, an expansion of the social safety net to protect the vulnerable segments of the population, as well as monetary policy support and targeted financial initiatives.
These measures supported the economy in mitigating the severe impact of the pandemic.
Unlike other economies across the world, Pakistan’s economy began to revive at a faster pace in the early half of FY2021, owing to significant rise in domestic economic activity.
The prudent decisions of the government with accommodative fiscal and monetary policies helped the economy to regain its pre-Covid-19 trajectory.
As a result today, the economy is steadily progressing towards more sustainable and inclusive growth.
The economy has witnessed a V-shaped recovery with 3.94 percent growth in FY2021 against the negative growth of 0.47 percent last year. It is worth mentioning that after 15 years, the economic growth has surpassed its target.
The outgoing fiscal year has witnessed a broad-based recovery across all sectors supported by various sector-specific measures implemented by the government.
The measures to uplift the agriculture sector paid off in terms of improved productivity of important crops.
Similarly, the performance in large scale manufacturing, construction, and export sectors is encouraging.
The current account is in surplus, the fiscal deficit is manageable, the primary balance is also in surplus, the rupee is stable, and foreign exchange reserves have surpassed $22 billion.
The Survey provides a perspective on the challenges the economy faces and the policy direction that will have to be maintained to successfully meet these challenges.
Pakistan was implementing stabilization policy post crisis of 2017-18 and the} economy was recovering from macroeconomic imbalances but Covid-19 slowed down the pace which was recovered initially but the advent of 2nd and 3rd wave brought significant challenges which were met by the timely prudent policies. Pandemics like Covid-19 are once-in-a-century event that devastate global} economies.
Pakistan did much better in coping up with the pandemic compared to many countries. The government took several important policy decisions: monetary and fiscal measures, smart lockdowns, rapid vaccination etc.
National Command and Operating Centre (NCOC) as a single organization was made responsible to take key decisions in collaboration with the provinces.
Situation was put under control due to government’s timely decision making, numbers of daily Covid-19 cases are presently on declining trend. Prior to Covid-19, the working population was 55.74 million.
This number declined} to 35.04 million which indicates people either lost their jobs or were not able to work.
Due to prudent decisions by the government, working population reached 52.56 million till October, 2020. Economy has witnessed a V – shaped recovery.