Five years achievements of constitutional tenure

THE PML-N’s federal government headed by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, as a successor to the since disqualified Mian Nawaz Sharif, has stepped down on May 31, 2018 after successfully completing its stipulated five years constitutional tenure becoming second civilian democratic regime to earn this distinction achieving accelerated economic growth through its vibrant and down to earth quite realistic policies in different secrors.
The PML-N federal government had created another record by presenting its sixth budget in five years pretty earlier on April 27, 2018 to ensure it is presented, discussed and passed prior to the advent of holy month of fasting more or less. The federal budget with total outlay of Rs 5932.5 billion so presented was quite appreciably as much as 16.2 per cent higher than the size of budget estimates of outgoing financial year 2017-18. The budget was got passed by the National Assembly by the stepping down ruling in second attempt though with the approval of the Finance Bill 2018 perhaps for the first time incorporating good number of recommendations and suggestions by the members of the upper house of the Parliament, the Senate of Pakistan.
Coinciding with the stepping down of the federal government, the Ministry of Finance came out with big advertisements in the newspapers highlighting five years of unprecedented economic performance presenting comparative figures for 2013 and 2018. Needless to mention here that PPP was in power in the country from 2008 to 2013 and had lost in 2013 general election to PML-N headed by Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.
This article is based on facts and figures given therein coupled with supporting facts and figures from official sources. The stepping down federal government came out with its achievements amidst hopes and expectations that it may be able to able staging returning to power for another five years by winning the upcoming general elections to the National and Provincial Assemblies on July 25, 2018 under the supervision of country’s 7th caretaker Prime Minister Justice (R) Nasirul Mulk who is time and again reiterating his commitment and priority to hold these polls in a free, fair, transparent, conducive and peaceful and orderly manner. The PML (N) is pinning hopes on winning the onrushing polls on the basis of what it claims to be its quite impressive economic performance during five years period it was in power.
Accordingly, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in real growth terms stood at 5.79 per cent in 2017-18, the highest in 10 years as compared to 3.68 per cent in 2012-13. The size of the national economy as such has also expanded to Rs 34396 billion in FY 2018 from Rs 22385 billion in fiscal year 2013 showing an appreciable increase of more than Rs 12000 billion in the five years period under report. Per capita income has also shown an upward trend and increased to Rs 180204 in FY 2018 as compared to Rs 129005 in 2013 showing an increase of more than Rs 50 thousand during the period under review.
The stepping down federal government followed a policy of fiscal consolidation in a determined manner because of which fiscal deficit came down to 5.5 per cent of GDP this year against somewhat high figures of 8.2 per cent in 2013.
Inflation level on average had remained around 12 per cent during 2008-2013. It was 7.36 per cent in 2012-13 and has been brought down almost at half level during first ten months of July 2017 to April 2019 at 3.77 per cent which quite good to say the least. Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is the country’s main agency for taxes and duties collection and revenue generation. During fiscal year 2012-13, FBR taxes collection was recorded at Rs 1946. 4 billion FBR revenue generation stood at Rs 3935.0 billion during first ten months of outgoing financial year 2017-18 i.e. July 2017 to April 2018. Tax to GDP ratio, which was 10.1 per cent in fiscal year 2012-13 is expected to increase to 13.2 per cent this year by end of June 2018, the official sources have maintained.
Agriculture sector is an important sector of the national economy which somehow has not been performing well for some years due to various reasons. As a result of the policies pursued by the federal government during its five years at the helm of national affairs and measures taken accordingly topped by incentives for the farming community, it has registered turn around showing highest growth rate of 3.8 per cent currently in 13 years period.
Disbursement of credit to agriculture sector which was Rs 336.25 billion in 2012-13 has quite commendably increased to Rs 736.703 billion in ten months from July 2017 to April 2018 and expected to cross coveted figure of Rs 800 billion when the current financial year closes by end June 2018, thus being more than doubled in five years in five years. Country’s imports have increased by 17 per cent in the first nine months of the outgoing fiscal year.
These essentially required imports are augmenting productive capacity of the national economy for higher export volumes in the future. However, with the completion of great game changer China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related projects, currently under implementation and at varying stages of their completion in different parts of the country this year and the exchange rate adjustment, imports are expected to be reduced somewhat to a moderate level.
Exports have been a challenging sector of the national economy for the federal government, due to both internal and external factors. However, as a result of concerted efforts by all those concerned, particularly announcement by the federal government in January 2017 of Export Incentives Package of Rs 180 billion along with several incentives as well as exchange rate adjustments, exports have shown positive indication of turn around and are likely to close the outgoing fiscal year on a good point.
As for foreign exchange reserves are concerned, these stood at 11.020 billion dollars in 2012-13 and after attaining record high in 2015-16 these are reported to be around 16.230 billion dollars, inclusive of those maintained by the State Bank of Pakistan and the private commercial banks, in 2017-18. Large number of Pakistanis are settled and working in different countries around the world for varying periods and their remittances back through proper channel to their families make positive and encouraging contributions to the national economy giving much needed boost to the country’s foreign exchange reserves. Remittances from Overseas Pakistanis were 13.922 billion dollars in 2012-13 and these have now risen to the level of 16.257 billion dollars during first months of the outgoing fiscal and likely to go up to more than 20 billion dollars by end June 2018.
Foreign Direct Investment was 1.45 billion dollars in 2012-13 and has touched the highest mark of 2.24 billion dollars during 2017-18. Federal government collects taxes and duties and these are distributed between the federal and provincial governments in accordance with the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award out of the Divisible Pool of Resources. Transfer of Resources to the Provinces out of Divisible Pool stood at Rs 1299.498 billion in 2012-13 and these have in five years appreciably increased to Rs 1876.636 billion from July 2017 to May 15, 2018 and are likely to go still higher at more than Rs 2230 billion by end of the current fiscal year showing a big jump of about Rs 1000 billion in five years period.
Needless to mention here that higher transfers of resources out of the Divisible Pool of Resources by the federal government to the provinces enable them to spend more on financing their respective Annual Development Programmes (ADPs) for accelerating socio-economic uplift their people.

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