NEC’s economic assessment

WITH less than three months for the incumbent government to complete its tenure, the highest economic policy platform – the National Economic Council (NEC) – took stock of the country’s economy, drawing comparison with what the PML (N) government inherited in 2013, after completion of five year of PPP government. The meeting was informed that a record investment of Rs 1415 billion was made in power sector leading to addition of 7653 MW of electricity to the national grid; GDP growth rate increased from three to five per cent, national development outlay more than doubled and industrial growth rate output increased from 2.7 to 5.6 per cent.
There is no denying the fact that the country witnessed large scale developmental activities during the last five years bringing relief to the masses and mitigating their woes in different ways. There is a sea change as far as development of infrastructure is concerned and this has laid firm foundations for accelerated socio-economic development of different regions of the country. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor initiative is making rapid progress and early harvest projects are on track with 42 projects being implemented in different sectors especially the energy. It is regrettable that the government could not maintain its momentum due to interruptions and impediments of various sorts by political and other players. The government has also succeeded in its efforts to reduce the menace of load-shedding but the real test would be during coming summer. The authorities concerned, who were previously claiming to bid the load-shedding farewell before end of tenure of present government, are now content on telling people that there would be no load-shedding at least during Ramazan-ul-Mubarak. We believe that electricity shortage and the menace of load-shedding would remain there until and unless theft, which is widespread in some regions, is checked effectively; line losses are reduced by up-gradation of the outdated distribution system; corruption is stemmed and the issue of circular debt is resolved once for all through some innovative yet realistic approach. The government also made some progress in revenue collection but the overall situation has not changed much. The country cannot achieve sustainable development unless tax base is broadened by taxing the well-to-do and not the common man.

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