Monday, September 27, 2010

A Brief History of Pakistani Economy 1947-2010

Pakistani economy grew at a fairly impressive rate of 6 percent per year through the first four decades of the nation's existence. In spite of rapid population growth during this period, per capita incomes doubled, inflation remained low and poverty declined from 46% down to 18% by late 1980s, according to eminent Pakistani economist Dr. Ishrat Husain. This healthy economic performance was maintained through several wars and successive civilian and military governments in 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s until the decade of 1990s, now appropriately remembered as the lost decade.

Pakistan Growth By Decades. Source: National Trade and Transport Facility

In the 1990s, economic growth plummeted to between 3% and 4%, poverty rose to 33%, inflation was in double digits and the foreign debt mounted to nearly the entire GDP of Pakistan as the governments of Benazir Bhutto (PPP) and Nawaz Sharif (PML) played musical chairs. Before Sharif was ousted in 1999, the two parties had presided over a decade of corruption and mismanagement. In 1999 Pakistan’s total public debt as percentage of GDP was the highest in South Asia – 99.3 percent of its GDP and 629 percent of its revenue receipts, compared to Sri Lanka (91.1% & 528.3% respectively in 1998) and India (47.2% & 384.9% respectively in 1998). Internal Debt of Pakistan in 1999 was 45.6 per cent of GDP and 289.1 per cent of its revenue receipts, as compared to Sri Lanka (45.7% & 264.8% respectively in 1998) and India (44.0% & 358.4% respectively in 1998).

After a relatively peaceful but economically stagnant decade of the 1990s, the year 1999 brought a bloodless coup led by General Pervez Musharraf, ushering in an era of accelerated economic growth that led to more than doubling of the national GDP, and dramatic expansion in Pakistan's urban middle class.

Per Capita PPP GDP

Pakistan became one of the four fastest growing economies in the Asian region during 2000-07 with its growth averaging 7.0 per cent per year for most of this period. As a result of strong economic growth, Pakistan succeeded in reducing poverty by one-half, creating almost 13 million jobs, halving the country's debt burden, raising foreign exchange reserves to a comfortable position and propping the country's exchange rate, restoring investors' confidence and most importantly, taking Pakistan out of the IMF Program.

The above facts were acknowledged by the current PPP government in a Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP) for 2008/09-2009/10, while signing agreement with the IMF on November 20, 2008. The document clearly (but grudgingly) acknowledged that "Pakistan's economy witnessed a major economic transformation in the last decade. The country's real GDP increased from $60 billion to $170 billion, with per capita income rising from under $500 to over $1000 during 2000-07". It further acknowledged that "the volume of international trade increased from $20 billion to nearly $60 billion. The improved macroeconomic performance enabled Pakistan to re-enter the international capital markets in the mid-2000s. Large capital inflows financed the current account deficit and contributed to an increase in gross official reserves to $14.3 billion at end-June 2007. Buoyant output growth, low inflation, and the government's social policies contributed to a reduction in poverty and improvement in many social indicators". (see MEFP, November 20, 2008, Para 1)

The decade also cast a huge shadow of the US "war on terror" on Pakistan, eventually turning the nation into a frontline state in the increasingly deadly conflict that shows no signs of abating. Along with the blood and gore and chaos on the streets, there are hopeful signs that rule of law and accountability is beginning to prevail in the country with the restoration of representative democracy and independent judiciary, largely in response to an increasingly assertive urban middle class, vibrant mass media and growing civil society.

The Zardari-Gilani government inherited a relatively sound economy on March 31, 2008. It inherited foreign exchange reserves of $13.3 billion, exchange rate at Rs62.76 per US dollar, the KSE index at 15,125 with market capitalization at $74 billion, inflation at 20.6 per cent and the country's debt burden on a declining path. The government itself acknowledged in the same document that "the macroeconomic situation deteriorated significantly in 2007/08 and the first four months of 2008/09 owing to adverse security developments, large exogenous price shocks (oil and food), global financial turmoil, and policy inaction during the political transition to the new government". (Para 3 of the MEFP, November 20, 2008.

Why is it that Pakistani economy has done well under military governments and performed poorly when led by politicians? To put it all in perspective, let's recall how late Dr. Mahbub ul-Haq, the renowned Pakistani economist who is credited with the idea of UNDP's human development index (HDI), explained the corrosive impact of political patronage on economic policy in Pakistan.

In a 10/12/1988 interview with Professor Anatol Lieven of King's College and quoted in a recent book "Pakistan-A Hard Country", here is what Dr. Haq said:

"..every time a new political government comes in they have to distribute huge amounts of state money and jobs as rewards to politicians who have supported them, and short term populist measures to try to convince the people that their election promises meant something, which leaves nothing for long-term development. As far as development is concerned, our system has all the worst features of oligarchy and democracy put together.

That is why only technocratic, non-political governments in Pakistan have ever been able to increase revenues. But they can not stay in power for long because they have no political support...For the same reason we have not been able to deregulate the economy as much as I wanted, despite seven years of trying, because the politicians and officials both like the system Bhutto (Late Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) put in place. It suits them both very well, because it gave them lots of lucrative state-sponsored jobs in industry and banking to take for themselves or distribute to their relatives and supporters."

Here is how Pakistani economist and NUST Professor Ashfaque Husain Khan explains the current situation:

What went wrong? Why one of the fastest growing economies in the Asian region until two years ago has been totally forgotten in the region? Firstly, the speed and dimension of exogenous price shocks (oil and food) were of extraordinary proportions. Secondly, the present government found itself totally ill-prepared and clueless in addressing the challenges arising out of the shocks. While rest of the world was taking corrective measures and adjusting to higher food and fuel prices, Pakistan lurched from one crisis to another.

Despite peaceful election and a smooth transition to a new government, political instability persisted. For a protracted period there were no finance, commerce, petroleum and natural resources and health ministers in the country. The government lost six precious months in finding its feet. It gave the impression of having little sense of direction and purpose. A crisis of confidence intensified as investors and development partners started to walk away. The stock market nosedived, capital flight set in, foreign exchange reserves plummeted and the Pakistani rupee lost one-third of its value. In short, Pakistan's macroeconomic vulnerability had grown unbearable. It had no option but to return to the IMF for a bailout package. There were no Plan A, B and C. There was only one plan, that is, to return to the IMF.

While the country was moving rapidly towards the IMF, the ministry of finance had prepared the plan to bring $4 billion by June 30, 2008 through four transactions. A kick-off meeting was scheduled on April 23, 2008 at the ministry to give a final touch to the various roadshows. These transactions were canceled on April 20, 2008. Who ordered the cancellation of $4 billion transaction? This cancellation prompted balance of payment crisis and the rest became history.

The economy continues to remain in intensive care unit and is barely breathing thanks to the injection of funds from the IMF, World Bank and Asian Development Bank. The economy is not on the radar screen of the government and as such the economic managers have no relevance in the current political set up. The exit of Shaukat Tarin is a classic example. At least he tried his best to inject financial discipline but paid the price of teaching prudent financial management.

Since Tarin's departure, Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has assumed the position of finance minister. It is still early to judge him, as the economy has suffered yet another major jolt from the widespread devastation caused by recent floods. This has added to the already extreme challenge Pakistan's leadership faces in bringing political and economic stability to the nation.

Here's a video titled "I Am Pakistan":

Related Links:

Haq's Musings
Ishrat Husain: Structural Reforms in Pakistan's Economy
Role of Politics in Pakistan Economy

Pakistan's Economic Performance 2008-2010

Incompetence Worse Than Corruption in Pakistan
Pakistan's Circular Debt and Load Shedding
US Fears Aid Will Feed Graft in Pakistan

Pakistan Swallows IMF's Bitter Medicine

Shaukat Aziz's Economic Legacy

Pakistan's Energy Crisis

Karachi Tops Mumbai in Stock Performance

India Pakistan Contrasted 2010
Pakistan's Foreign Visitors Pleasantly Surprised
After Partition: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

The "Poor" Neighbor by William Dalrymple
Pakistan's Modern Infrastructure

Video: Who Says Pakistan Is a Failed State?
India Worse Than Pakistan, Bangladesh on Nutrition
UNDP Reports Pakistan Poverty Declined to 17 Percent

Pakistan's Choice: Talibanization or Globalization

Pakistan's Financial Services Sector

Pakistan's Decade 1999-2009

South Asia Slipping in Human Development
Asia Gains in Top Asian Universities

BSE-Key Statistics
Pakistan's Multi-Billion Dollar IT Industry

India-Pakistan Military Comparison

Food, Clothing and Shelter in India and Pakistan

Pakistan Energy Crisis

IMF-Pakistan Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies


Mohammad said...

Riaz: This is good. It gives lots of data for my contention that Musharraf time was much better than before him and after him.


Riaz Haq said...

Asghar: "Riaz: This is good. It gives lots of data for my contention that Musharraf time was much better than before him and after him."

I agree! But it also says that Bhutto-Zardari and Sharif have been the worst of the lot we have seen to date...they gave us the lost decade of the 1990s and again the worst performance since 2008.

Anonymous said...

>> "they gave us the lost decade of the 1990s and again the worst performance since 2008."

Well, may be; But its not the complete picture. A lot of things happened post Musharraf.

1. Post 9/11 circumstances

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and US attack on Afghanistan, US gave $15 billion in aid to Pakistan*, a amount large enough to boost the GDP (for short term). Although, the affect the war had on Pakistan economy is a separate story, and is perhaps far more tragic.

2. Economic slowdown of 2008

Yes, Musharraf left Pakistan economy in decent shape. But his exit also was at the time of economic slowdown. No economy escaped its influence. As a matter of fact most currencies lost their value as opposed to Dollar in that period - a trend that is reversing recently, at least for Brazilian Real, Indian Rupee and many others.

3. Dynamics of US Aid

Its unfortunate to tie aid and external disturbance, but this has been the nature of aid to Pakistan. Between 1991-2000 when role of US in Afghanistan reduced to minimal (Era of Taliban control), Pakistan just received $429 million in aid*, as opposed to $5 billion in the previous decade, and more than $9 billion in the next. Further, Pressler amendment (passed in 1985) began hurting Pakistan by the 90's. There are quite a few empirical research papers demonstrating how Pressler amendment in US almost led to the collapse of Pakistan economy, where it reduced American aid to Pakistan significantly.

As a matter of fact some economists even argue that there is a bigger chance of Pakistan collapsing in short term with immediate termination of US aid to Pakistan, in case of an exit from Afghanistan. Although, no one can deny that overall this dependence on US aid has caused more long term damage to Pakistan's economy.


Riaz Haq said...

anon: "In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and US attack on Afghanistan, US gave $15 billion in aid to Pakistan*"

I know a lot of figures thrown around and great credit given to US aid to explain Pakistan's economic performance from 2001-2007.

What is often forgotten in all of this are the following facts:

1. Pakistan's FDI dramatically increased during this period. Former US Federal Reserve Chief Alan Greenspan said in his book titled "The Age of Turbulence" : “But clearly the Licence Raj (in India) has discouraged foreign direct investment. India received $7 billion in FDI in 2005, a sum dwarfed by China’s $72 billion. India’s cumulative stock of FDI at 6 per cent of GDP at the end of 2005 compares with 9 per cent for Pakistan, 14 per cent for China, and 61 per cent for Vietnam.

2. Pakistan dramatically reduced its dependence on external debt. Pakistan's total public debt declined dramatically from 100% of GDP to about 50% of GDP during this period.

3. The foreign aid to Pakistan has increased in terms of absolute dollars in 2010, but significantly declined as a percent of GDP over the last decade.

Pakistan received $5 in aid per capita in 1960s, and it has now increased to $15 per capita, according to the world bank.

But Pakistan's per capita GDP has risen from less than $300 to about $3000 during this period, making foreign aid a minute percentage of total GDP.

4. Remittances by overseas Pakistanis soared, and are still continuing to increase to new records, expected to pass $10 billion this year.

Irfan said...

Floods, protests, terrorism and war is not helping the small businessman. last 2 months many shops in Karachi were closed for 25 days total because of floods and unrest. I can survive but my workers and their families have no money during Ramadan. Economy is only helping the military and feudal businesses. The poor are getting poorer and the government people still want bribes.

Riaz Haq said...

Irfan: "Floods, protests, terrorism and war is not helping the small businessman. last 2 months many shops in Karachi were closed for 25 days total because of floods and unrest..."

I do feel your pain. The current situation in Pakistan is not sustainable. It has to change for the better, and the sooner it changes, the better it will be for Pakistan.

Haseeb said...

Another excellent article! However, this proves the point that Pakistan is NOT ready for democracy yet. Pakistan has done better under dictators than fraudulently elected governments. Zardari and his minions have bankrupted Pakistan and have no plans or concerns to help the poor of the country.

Pakistan must raise its level of education to 80% plus and get rid of vadera’s before a fair election can be held and democratically elected government can function for the good of masses.

Riaz Haq said...

Haseeb: "Pakistan has done better under dictators than fraudulently elected governments. "

I agree! But it also shows that civilian democratic governments have also done fairly well until 1980s.

Bhutto-Zardari and Sharif have been the worst of the lot we have seen to date...they gave us the lost decade of the 1990s and again the worst performance since 2008.

Rashid M said...

None so blind as those who will not see!!!

I have no use for statistics that only measure the depth of depravity. So what if these statistics prove that last 0.0001 % to make the conclusion 100% correct?

Did we really need all these statistics to come to such conclusions?
Did we not see the rapacious nature of the father and the daughter and the son-in-law and the Brothers?

Haseeb is not saying it openly - but it will only come up in some other discussion. Democracy is a distant dream. It can not thrive in poverty and ignorance. I have heard that martial law does not work either.

Afghans also have poverty and ignorance since time immemorial. They long for the days of guess who? - the "students".
The poor ignorant Afghan knows that as long as there is a warlord - there will be minions of warlords. Inspite of the harsh justice of the "students" (see Time magazine - cover picture of a nose-less woman ) the Afghans want the warlords and the protectors of the warlords out of their country. I have always liked the Afghani naan. It has an unusual shape - but it tastes pretty good with a leg of lamb.

Moin said...


Your reference to education here is right on the money. Democracy only works if the population is educated. At least 80% as you say.
The Western push to get Democracy installed in Third World countries ( knowing full well that it will fail) is a ploy to keep them in chaos and from making any kind of progress. This is not a conspiracy theory. You just have to look around at several underdeveloped and developing countries who have been under the thumb of World Bank to see how they have turned out.

As far as I can gauge the reign of Ayub Khan was the best. For may reasons. Firstly, Pakistan made huge amounts of progress in all fields. Secondly, Pakistan had prestige that it never regained since then. Thirdly, if it was not for Ayub, Pakistan would never have become the Military might that it is today. Fourthly, somehow, he managed to keep peace in the country and it was the most peaceful and safest time in Pakistan's history. Remember, Pakistan at that time was both East and West Pakistan. Not an easy task to keep peace in such two disparate lands a thousand miles apart. As and 11 year old I could ride my bike in Dhaka and go anywhere, I mean anywhere, and not feel unsafe.

As for me I prefer Chapli kabab with my naan.

Sgt. Tom Catsgill said...

As part of their psyche, Pakistanis are still preoccupied with India; however, I choose not to get involved in comparisons.

One of my duties recently was to see how humanitarian aid was being used at the "common man" level during which I came across this blog. The effect of aid will only be temporary maybe a few weeks to two months if that. The magnitude of damage to the already precarious economy is staggering. By conservative estimates it is about US 40 billion or over 20% of Pakistan's nominal GDP. There are many NGOs but their positive effect, although heaven sent, will be minimal!

Moreover, the economic resurgence of earlier years was much more concentrated around the army or businesses allied to the army or owned by the military brass.

The MDG report in your blog is from 2005 survey; nevertheless, the current situation is very alarming. Nature has forced Pakistanis to slip and fall drastically and sadly the ineffective government will add to their problems. Having said that the army isn't any better in my view because the army siphoned a lot of US aid away from social programs.

Riaz Haq said...

Sgt. Tom Catsgill: "Moreover, the economic resurgence of earlier years was much more concentrated around the army or businesses allied to the army or owned by the military brass."

Unlike China, there is absolutely no basis for this claim in Pakistan. If it were true, Pakistan wouldn't be the most egalitarian country in South Asia based on the Gini index data.

Civilians in Pakistan have enjoyed significant upward social and economic mobility as reflected in Pakistan having a much bigger middle class growth than India since independence.

Over the last two decades, Pakistan has continued to offer much greater upward economic and social mobility to its citizens than neighboring India. Since 1990, Pakistan's middle class had expanded by 36.5% and India's by only 12.8%, according to an ADB report on Asia's rising middle class released recently.

In fact, the feudal class civilians have dominated Pakistani society and economy much more than any military officers. But the feudal power is now also declining.

Here's an excerpt from a recent New York Times story about declining power of Pakistan's feudal class:

For years, feudal lords reigned supreme, serving as the police, the judge and the political leader. Plantations had jails, and political seats were practically owned by families.

Instead of midwifing democracy, these aristocrats obstructed it, ignoring the needs of rural Pakistanis, half of whom are still landless and desperately poor more than 60 years after Pakistan became a state.

But changes began to erode the aristocrats’ power. Cities sprouted, with jobs in construction and industry. Large-scale farms eclipsed old-fashioned plantations. Vast hereditary lands splintered among generations of sons, and many aristocratic families left the country for cities, living beyond their means off sales of their remaining lands. Mobile labor has also reduced dependence on aristocratic families.

In Punjab, the country’s most populous province, and its most economically advanced, the number of national lawmakers from feudal families shrank to 25 percent in 2008 from 42 percent in 1970, according to a count conducted by Mubashir Hassan, a former finance minister, and The New York Times.

“Feudals are a dying breed,” said S. Akbar Zaidi, a Karachi-based fellow with the Carnegie Foundation. “They have no power outside the walls of their castles.”

Salman said...

Moin: "The Western push to get Democracy installed in Third World countries ( knowing full well that it will fail) is a ploy to keep them in chaos and from making any kind of progress. This is not a conspiracy theory."

The bumper sticker of the century reads as follows:

"Be nice to America Or we'll bring democracy to your country!"

Salman said...

Moin: "The Western push to get Democracy installed in Third World countries ( knowing full well that it will fail) is a ploy to keep them in chaos and from making any kind of progress. This is not a conspiracy theory."

The bumper sticker of the century reads as follows:

"Be nice to America Or we'll bring democracy to your country!"

Riaz Haq said...

Former Pakistani president Gen Pervez Musharraf launched a political party today. Here's a BBC report on his press conference held in London:

Former Pakistan military ruler Pervez Musharraf has apologised for "negative" actions he took while in power, as he launched his new political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, in London.

Mr Musharraf said: "I... sincerely apologise to the whole nation" for the "negative repercussions".

But he vowed to galvanise Pakistanis and fight a "jihad against poverty, hunger, illiteracy and backwardness".

Correspondents say there is no real likelihood of him returning soon.

Mr Musharraf also appears to lack the kind of political organisation that could win him an election in Pakistan, they say.
'National salvation'

Mr Musharraf unveiled the All Pakistan Muslim League at a gentlemen's club in Whitehall.

There was tight security, with checks on all those entering the room.

Mr Musharraf apologised for some of the actions he took when in power.

"I am aware of the fact that there were some decisions which I took which resulted in negative political repercussions, repercussions which had adverse effects on nation building and national political events, and my popularity also, may I say, plummeted in that last year. I take this opportunity to sincerely apologise to the whole nation."

Mr Musharraf attacked the "total despondency and demoralisation and hopelessness which prevails in society today".

He added: "The time has come to redeem our pledge... to ensure the fruits of freedom are shared by all. The time has come for a new social contract to keep the dream of our forefathers alive... to make Pakistan into a progressive Islamic state for others in the third world to emulate."

Mr Musharraf said he wanted a party of national salvation that would "galvanise all Pakistanis regardless of religion, caste or creed".

Punctuated by chants from supporters, he added: "It is time to unfurl a Muslim league umbrella for all - this umbrella for all shall be the All Pakistan Muslim League."

The former army chief, who now lives in London, earlier told the BBC: "When there is a dysfunctional government and the nation is going down, its economy is going down, there is a clamour, there is a pressure on the military by the people."

He said he was launching the party in London because he risked assassination if he returned to Pakistan. He has survived a number of plots in the past.

Last month, Mr Musharraf told the BBC he would be standing for a seat in the 2013 parliamentary elections. From there he said he hoped to become either prime minister or president.

He made London his base, as a number of Pakistani politicians have done over the years, after his allies lost elections and he was ousted as president in 2008.

If he does go home, he faces legal cases, which he says are politically motivated.

Mr Musharraf seized power in 1999 when, as chief of Pakistan's army, he ousted elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a coup.

Riaz Haq said...

In 1832 under the Mughal rule, India was among the world's two largest economies along with China, a status it will not regain until after 2032, according to a recent CNBC report.

bikramshergill said...

Mr. Riaz Haq Pakistan recieved the biggest cheer in the cwg opening ceremony after India. This shows how much Indians love Pakistanis and vice versa. Here are some of the pics of the opening ceremony. Hope you like them. Cheers!

Riaz Haq said...

European textile firms are protesting EU trade concession for Pakistani textile imports to help Pakistan after the massive floods. Here's a Wall Street Journal story on it:

European Union trade concessions for flood-ravaged Pakistan have triggered a backlash among European manufacturers, led by an EU textile sector already imperiled by Chinese imports.

The tensions show how the economic downturn is increasing anxieties over trade to the point where even targeted humanitarian efforts to lower tariff barriers are called into question.

The European Commission, the EU's executive, Wednesday approved tariff waivers on 75 categories of imports from Pakistan for up to three years. The gesture followed an order by EU leaders eager to show they're helping some 10 million Pakistanis left without shelter after violent flooding this summer.

Pakistan isn't a big exporter to the EU, shipping only $4.2 billion worth of goods to the bloc last year. It ranked a distant 46th among EU trading partners, between the United Arab Emirates and Serbia.

However, more than 75% of those exports are textiles, clothing, leather or related products, and those goods will make up a majority of the roughly $140 million in total extra trade the EU says the deal will generate from eliminating the EU tariffs.

That's a problem for European textile manufacturers, mostly located in Europe's southern rim, from Portugal to Italy to Romania. Thousands of small shops and their workers have been getting crushed ever since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, partially opening up European textile markets. Some of these European economies are suffering slow growth because of the euro zone's debt problems.

Riaz Haq said...

Commonwealth Games 2010 ended today in New Delhi, India.

Representing the host nation, Indian athletes performed very well, ending up second on the medals table with 101 medals, including 38 golds, beating England to win the second place with just one more gold medal than England's 37 golds.

As expected, Australia topped the medals table with 177 medals, including 74 golds, down significantly from 221 medals they won in 2006, according to the BBC.

India doubled their medal count to 101 this year from 50 medals in 2006.

England also made gains, winning 142 medals this year, up from 110 in 2006.

Pakistan ranked 17th, on a list of 37 medal winning nations. Pakistan's medal count remained flat at 5, including 2 golds.

In terms of population per medal, Nauru (2 medals) topped the list with one medal per 5000 people.

India and Pakistan ended up near the bottom with one medal per 11 million and 33 million respectively.

Bangladesh was at the bottom with its one bronze medal for its entire population of 162 million people.

In terms of GDP, Nauru topped with 1 medal per $119 million.

India and Pakistan were near the bottom with $12 billion and $33 billion respectively.

Bangladesh was last with just one bronze for its entire GDP of $94 billion.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from Bloomberg-Businessweek on Pakistani companies prospects after floods:

Toyota Motor Corp. and Unilever affiliates in Pakistan said the worst floods in the nation’s history may sap growth and force production cuts as consumers struggle to cope with the destruction of crops and houses.

“The economy is fragile,” Parvez Ghias, chief executive officer of Toyota-backed Indus Motor Co., Pakistan’s largest automaker by market value, said by phone yesterday from Karachi. “The prices of food and essentials have gone up significantly.”

“The overall impact of the floods is going to be very serious for the economy,” said Nasim Beg, who helps manage $200 million at Karachi-based Arif Habib Investments Ltd. “In the long term, something like cement might look alright, but in the immediate term, I think everything will be under stress.”

“The damage is going to be significant,” said Muhammad Adil Ghani, plant operations head at Lahore-based Nishat Mills. “We have to reevaluate the forecast for the coming year.”

One of the group’s power plants, in Punjab province, northern Pakistan, was closed for at least five days because of floods, he said. The company’s four textile factories around Karachi, Faisalabad and Lahore haven’t been directly affected.

Nationwide car sales may fall as much as 25 percent this quarter because of the floods, said Indus Motor’s Ghias. The automaker, 38 percent owned by Toyota and an affiliate, may cut output in October because of the expected slowdown, he said. The company has enough orders to maintain its 200 cars-a-day production rate until then, he said.

Pakistan’s major cities and industrial areas, such as Karachi and Faisalabad, have escaped the flooding, which has limited damage at factories and may also curb the impact on earnings. Unilever’s local unit gets about 8 percent of revenue from the worst affected areas, CEO Malik said.

“So far there hasn’t been a major impact on sales,” he said. A reduction in costs may offset any decline in revenue, safeguarding profit, he said.

Mark Mobius, who oversees about $34 billion in developing- nation assets as executive chairman of Templeton Asset Management Ltd.’s emerging markets group, is also buying Pakistani shares in anticipation of a rebound from the floods. Local stocks’ valuations are “very, very attractive,” he said earlier this week.

Unilever Pakistan has maintained production through steps including re-routing shipments of goods, Malik said. Nestle Pakistan Ltd., a unit of the world’s biggest food company, has continued operations at its factories, which are concentrated in Sheikhupura, Kabirwala and Islamabad.

The full impact of the disaster on foodmakers will become clearer over the next week or so as they work through inventories of goods such as fruit pulp, used to make juices, said Syed Fakhar Ahmed, a spokesman for Nestle Pakistan.

Engro Foods’ milk tankers have been unable to reach areas of Sindh and Punjab provinces because of the floods, CEO Rehman said. Retail milk prices may eventually rise by as much as 4 rupees (5 cents) a liter, he said. In the short term, the effect on food prices has been mitigated by Ramadan, a month of fasting for Muslims that began on Aug. 11, he said.

“After the people return and transportation resumes, the supply chain will recover but not completely,” Rehman said.

The country will need to import 1 million head of livestock within five months to replenish stocks, according to the nation’s Meat Merchants Welfare Association. Livestock accounted for 11 percent of gross domestic product in the year ended June 30, according to the government’s economic survey.

“Agriculture is a very significant part of the economy,” Indus Motors’ Ghias said. “If we’re going to see negative growth there, other sectors will be impacted.”

aamsvad said...

One thing is sure ,if Pakistan has an army takeover it is going to push the nation and its economy at least a decade back.Military rule (which most Pakistanis are asking for now)is not a solution especially for such a multi ethnic nation like Pakistan.
As a first reaction West will impose severe sanctions against Pakistan and thats not good for its fragile economy.
One of the best thing that can happen to Pakistan is that its democratic leaders start delivering.

Riaz Haq said...

aamsvad: "As a first reaction West will impose severe sanctions against Pakistan and thats not good for its fragile economy."

The West will do nothing to upset any Pakistani govt, military or civilian, as long the US and NATO need Pakistan's help in Afghanistan.

When Pakistan recently closed just one of the border crossings, all fuel and other crucial supplies came to halt, and the US had to apologize to Pakistan. The other leverage Pakistan has is US reliance on it for drone missions which are flown from bases in Pakistan and rely on Pakistani intelligence.

aamsvad said...

"The West will do nothing to upset any Pakistani govt, military or civilian, as long the US and NATO need Pakistan's help in Afghanistan."
Oh no, you are mistaken Mr Riaz!Currently the Govt's in west are facing severe public anger vis a vis "Why support a nation such as Pak, who hate us like hell".Gov's response to this genuine point is "promote democracy in Pak,blah blah".
Once Army takes over Pak, the fig leaf is gone for the western Govts life support to Pak.Then the opposition in these nations will say "No jobs over here and the ruling party sends aid to Pak!"
No sane ruling political party will take that risk.

aamsvad said...

"When Pakistan recently closed just one of the border crossings, all fuel and other crucial supplies came to halt, and the US had to apologize to Pakistan."
You think there will be no more Pak army victims as a result of NATO activities?If such unfortunate events happen can Pak close the border once again. Can Pakistan do that for the second time or third time.No answer is no.

aamsvad said...

"The other leverage Pakistan has is US reliance on it for drone missions which are flown from bases in Pakistan and rely on Pakistani intelligence."
I do not concur.
Pak-Army personnel/ISI is providing this "intelligence", because its key intelligence personnel,army and some of its business's are being paid very very well.So in a sense they are dependent on US .
What is tomorrow US decides no more drones?What if US decides lets explore the routes via "Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan"? what if US decides Iran should be a friend?What if us decides "forget afghan, Pak is the main issue" and imposes sanctions against Pak?

So this is a double game for both US and Pak.If Pak can do one thing US can do another.Just because Pak
was successful once,by closing the border, it cannot succeed again.
As it will be pushing US beyond its limits of patience.

Riaz Haq said...

aamsvad: "Currently the Govt's in west are facing severe public anger vis a vis "Why support a nation such as Pak, who hate us like hell".Gov's response to this genuine point is "promote democracy in Pak,blah blah"."

People in the West are much more concerned about jobs and economy right now. Foreign policy and democracy abroad are very low on their list of priorities.

Besides, they know talk of democracy by Bush in Afghanistan and Iraq was just an excuse to invade...there are even funny bumper stickers going around saying "Be nice to US or else...we'll bring democracy to your country!"

aamsvad said...

"People in the West are much more concerned about jobs and economy right now."

Yes that's what it means , when domestic US/West economy is so bad why bail out Pakistan or give costly trade concessions to it? If US wants to spend $2.2 billion why cant that go into Detroit or Louisiana, instead of Pak army? These are the Q which are being asked by the US voters and will be discussed in length by the new senate.If god forbid a major terrorist attack happens in the west, it will be even tougher for Pakistan army to execute such things as an complete takeover.

aamsvad said...

Dictatorship or military rule , does not work in any multi ethnic nation be it Pak or India.
It has been beautifully expounded by Hasyeng Huang of MIT.
To paraphrase him "..for a large country like india with multi ethnic and multi cultural population , if you have an dictatorship(army rule) it will not be benevolent....".

He was talking about India but i have no doubt that it hold true for Pakistan.
To sum it up.
1) Army rule might work in Pak only if it is an benevolent dictatorship.
2 ) If Army rule comes, Pak Economy needs to tackle severe western sanctions.

Riaz Haq said...

aamsvad: "when domestic US/West economy is so bad why bail out Pakistan or give costly trade concessions to it? If US wants to spend $2.2 billion why cant that go into Detroit or Louisiana, instead of Pak army?"

The US can choose to cut off "aid" to Pakistan but it must also be prepared to lose the use of Pakistani bases and supply routes for its campaign in Afghanistan. Nothing comes free. Neither "aid" nor the use of another country's resources.

aamsvad: "To paraphrase him "..for a large country like india with multi ethnic and multi cultural population , if you have an dictatorship(army rule) it will not be benevolent....".

No country is more diverse than Indonesia with its 17000+ islands, thousands of languages and dialects spoken by thousands of tribes, and yet it was ruled for almost three decades by Gen Suharto who transformed it from an agrarian society into an industrialized nation.

Riaz Haq said...

aamsvad: "As it will be pushing US beyond its limits of patience. "

The US has run out of patience and sought other options without success.

I think the US is moving toward the end game by initiating talks with the Taliban leadership, including Mullah Omar and the Haqqani network. And the US knows the success of its strategy depends heavily on Pakistan's support.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is the latest news from State Bank of Pakistan reported by The Nation newspaper:

KARACHI – In the backdrop of widespread losses caused by the unprecedented rains and devastating floods to the economy in the early months of current fiscal year, the State Bank of Pakistan has predicted that the real GDP growth would be in the range of 2 to 3 per cent in FY11 against the annual plan target of 4.5 per cent.
The SBP, in its Annual Report on the State of the Economy for the year 2009-10 released here on Monday, stated that the annual average inflation for FY11 is likely to remain between 13.5 to 14.5 per cent, up from both, the 9.5 per cent target and earlier SBP forecast of 11.0- 12.0 per cent for the year.
Moreover, the provisional SBP projections indicate that the current account deficit will likely to rise between 3-4 per cent while the fiscal deficit is anticipated to be in the vicinity of 5 to 6 per cent of GDP during FY11. In addition, it projected that workers’ remittances are likely to stay between $9.5 billion to $10.5 billion whereas exports and imports are likely to be between $20 billion to $21 billion and $34 billion to $35 billion, respectively in the entire course of ongoing fiscal year.
The Report pointed out that financing even the moderate increase in the current account deficit may prove stressful for the economy, with rising pressures on the country’s foreign exchange reserves and exchange rate.
The Report said, “Negative shocks stemming from the floods have further exposed the existing structural weaknesses in the economy. Addressing these will require improvements in macroeconomic discipline as well as continued reforms to improve the resilience of the economy. The required reforms include those to improve productivity, strengthen public institutions, improve economic governance, and build social safety nets to protect vulnerable segments of the population.”
The Report while referring an independent study, warned that the occurrence of poverty, which started to decline over the last decade, is expected to increase in the wake of the floods in the time to come.
According to the Report, the direct impact of the flood-related supply shock is likely to be limited. For example, the impact of flood/rain damages and shortages of minor crops are not expected to persist beyond 2 to 3 months as supply line improves and as fresh crops (e.g., vegetables) enter the market. Similarly, for some other products, any rise in domestic prices would be capped by low international prices.
It is important to note here that prices of dairy products were already continuing on a secular rise, even prior to the floods, due to sustained strong domestic and external demand. Livestock losses in the flood would exacerbate this rising trend, but only to a small extent.
It said that the extended persistence of double-digit inflation had already been a source of concern even ahead of the floods, particularly given the risk that an upward trend in food-commodity prices (e.g. wheat, edible oil, sugar, corn, etc.) could be compounded by any weakness in the exchange rate. Moreover, inflationary pressures were also expected to strengthen as a result of the recent 50 percent increase in government sector salaries, and anticipated rise in energy tariffs (as the government continued to reduce subsidies) and removal of GST exemptions to broaden the tax base.

Riaz Haq said...

After agriculture, textile sector is the second largest employer in India, according to :

The Textile Sector in India ranks next to Agriculture. Textile is one of India’s oldest industries and has a formidable presence in the national economy in as much as it contributes to about 14 per cent of manufacturing value-addition, accounts for around one-third of our gross export earnings and provides gainful employment to millions of people. The textile industry occupies a unique place in our country. One of the earliest to come into existence in India, it accounts for 14% of the total Industrial production, contributes to nearly 30% of the total exports and is the second largest employment generator after agriculture.

About 27% of India's foreign exchange earnings are on account of export of textiles and clothing alone. The textiles and clothing sector contributes about 14% to the industrial production and 3% to the gross domestic product of the country. Around 8% of the total excise revenue collection is contributed by the textile industry. So much so, the textile industry accounts for as large as 21% of the total employment generated in the economy. Around 35 million people are directly employed in the textile manufacturing activities. Indirect employment including the manpower engaged in agricultural based raw-material production like cotton and related trade and handling could be stated to be around another 60 million.

Here are excerpts from a NY Times report on how the situation is changing in Coimbatore, a big textile center in Tamil Nadu:

The clear losers of India’s currency approach right now are garment makers. From April to August, exports were down 6.4 percent from a year earlier in the $10 billion Indian clothing industry. Although it represents only about 1 percent of the nation’s economy, the garment industry is India’s largest employer after agriculture.

“All the other countries are protecting their currencies, so why are we not?” said Premal Udani, chairman of India’s Apparel Export Promotion Council.

Indian policy makers are eager enough for foreign investment that, for now at least, they are willing to endure the damage a stronger rupee inflicts on exports, especially for lower-value goods like clothes. Exports of other Indian goods and services, like software and pharmaceuticals, have not been as hard hit because they are not as price-sensitive.

India also places a premium on the higher-value jobs that are fueled by foreign investment. Not far from where that old textile mill once stood, the German engineering company Bosch and the American software concern Perot Systems have opened offices in a new technology park.

The influx of capital has helped fuel a nearly 9 percent annual growth rate for India’s economy. It has also powered the Indian stock market to near record highs. A big beneficiary of the stock rally has been the government, which is selling shares in state-owned firms like Coal India, the world’s largest coal miner.

The government, which has a large budget deficit, plans to raise $9 billion in the current fiscal year from share sales and spend the money on jobs for the rural poor and other welfare programs. A stronger rupee also reduces India’s bill for commodities, like oil, that it needs to import.

“If India is to sustain 8 percent growth or 9 percent growth, the only constraint on that can be capital,” said Nikhil Chaturvedi, managing director of Prozone, the Indian real estate firm that is building the Alliance Mall development. “Free flow of capital should be allowed in all sectors” of the economy, he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Pakistani economist Dr. Ashfaque H. Khan writing about "Pakistan: a forgotten economy" in a piece published by The News:

How has that economy been transformed into a forgotten one in just three years? Unfortunately, the economy never featured on the radar screen of the present government. Additionally, the government lacked a credible economic team. In less than three years there have been four finance ministers, four finance secretaries and three governors of the State Bank.

The government wasted time and energy in downplaying the achievements of the previous government, while it lurched from one crisis to another, a rudderless ship with no sense of direction and purpose. The current economic team is weak and lacks the capacity to handle the multidimensional challenges it is confronted with, most of which are self-created.

The country’s economic growth has slowed to an average of three per cent per annum, and unemployment and poverty have risen. Higher double-digit inflation has persisted and items of basic necessity have gone beyond the reach of the common man. The debt burden has reached unsustainable levels and the dependence on donors has grown. Clearly, three years of mis-governance and poor economic management have brought the economy to near-standstill. People have lost confidence in the country’s ability to recover from the ever-deepening economic crisis. The recent unprecedented floods have further aggravated the impact of the economic ills.

It is not only the economy which is in decline. This is true of things in every walk of life. To name just a few, this has been evident in the game of cricket, the inaugural parade at the Commonwealth Games, the Haj operations, the creation of the sugar crisis, the running of public-sector enterprises like PIA, Pakistan Railways, the Steel Mills, National Insurance Corporation and TCP, the crisis in higher education, the deterioration in law and order and the debacle of the recently concluded Pakistan Development Forum (PDF).

The PDF meeting requires special mention. The PDF, the reincarnation of the Aid to Pakistan Consortium, is jointly chaired by the World Bank and the Government of Pakistan, represented through its finance minister. The purpose of this forum is to provide a platform to the government where it can present its economic and social reforms agenda before visiting delegations. The PDF has never been a platform for pledging assistance. Unfortunately, this forum was transformed into a pledging forum because every minister, even the prime minister, made statements about the financial loss caused by the floods and asked for financial support. The minister of interior even pleaded for a debt write-off.

It is unfortunate that we have turned every international forum, including Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP), into an opportunity for begging. No self-respecting nation begs forever. A beggar cannot command respect in the comity of nation. Continuing to do so, Pakistan risks nothing less than global oblivion. How long can we keep on begging like this? Is this the fate to which the people of Pakistan must resign themselves?

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a piece by Lawrence MacDonald of Center for Global Development on flood recovery in Pakistan:

..Molly (Kinder) adds that aid money could make a real difference in how well and how quickly Pakistan is able to recover from the floods. As Molly, Nancy (Birdsall) and Wren have written, redirecting unspent aid money towards flood reconstruction could bolster Pakistan’s economy at a critical moment and lay the foundation for poverty-reducing growth when and if the necessary domestic policy reforms are enacted. We discuss ways to make that aid transparent and to ensure that it isn’t diverted for other purposes.

As Molly and I spoke, top officials from the Pakistani government were in in town for the third set of so-called Strategic Dialogue meetings with their American counterparts. We at the Center got just a taste of those meetings when we hosted Pakistani Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh for a private breakfast with members of Washington’s Pakistan policy community and U.S. government representatives. Shaikh’s talk and his savvy about both economic policies and politics impressed all those who attended, but Molly warns that while Pakistan has a full team of skilled economists in the top ranks of government, knowing what needs to be done and managing to overcome the substantial obstacles to reform are two separate issues. Molly adds: the finance minister “rightly identified the challenge, which is how can you create the political momentum within Pakistan to enable these very difficult reforms to happen?”

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some interesting highlights from a paper "Land-use Changes and Agricultural Growth in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, 1901-2004" by Takashi Kurosaki:

1. In India and Pakistan, the area under forests and under cultivation increased substantially throughout the post-independence period. The annual growth rates were higher in Pakistan than in India: the forest area increased at an annual growth rate of 1.91% and 0.75% in Pakistan, well above the figures of British India before independence. In India, the growth rates were lower than in Pakistan but comparable to rates recorde before independence.

2. During post-independence period, output (Q) in Pakistan grew at 3.5 percent per annum while Output/Area (Q/A) increased at 2.3 percent. Therefore, the major contribution to agri growth after independence came from increase in land productivity.

3. The level of growth was highest in Pakistan, followed by India, with Bangladesh at the bottom.

4. In all three countries, the growth rate of land productivity was not high enough to cancel the negative growth of land availability per capita. But the output per capita growth in Pakistan continues to be higher than in India and Bangladesh.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is some anecdotal evidence as well as research and data that show that agriculture sector in Pakistan has done better than in India and Bangladesh, particularly since independence in 1947.

First, India has had lower productivity and higher poverty in its rural areas than Pakistan, as can be seen in terms of hundreds of thousands of farmers' suicides in the last decade. Over 17000 Indian farmers killed themselves in 2009 alone, according to Indian govt data. Over 75% of Indians live on less than $2 a day versus 60% of Pakistanis.

A recent satirical Indian film "Peepli Live" has amply shown how the Indian politicians and bureaucracy have bugled the situation of farmers.

Second, 60% of India's workforce produces 16% of Inda's GDP in agriculture. Compare that with 42% of Pakistani workforce in agriculture contributing 19.4% of GDP. Assuming India's PPP GDP of $3.75 trillion (population 1.2 billion, nominal gdp $1.3 trillion) and Pakistan's $450 billion (population 175 million, nominal gdp $167 billion)), here is what I calculated in terms of per capita GDP in different sectors of the economy:

India vs. Pakistan: Per Capita GDP $3,125 PPP ($1,083 nom) vs. $2,570 ($955 nom)

Agriculture: $833 PPP ($288 nom) vs. $1,225 PPP ($454 nom)

Textiles: $1,242 ($433) vs. $1,714 ($636)

Non-Textile Mfg: $11,155 ($3,870) vs $5,785 ($2,142)

Services $7,246 ($2,590) vs $3,654 ($1356)

Data shows that the majority of Indians who work in agriculture and textiles are on average 50% poorer than their Pakistani counterparts, as also reflected in the under-$2 a day per capita income figures for 60% of Pakistanis and 76% of Indians.

Third, here are some interesting highlights from a paper "Land-use Changes and Agricultural Growth in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, 1901-2004" by Takashi Kurosaki:

1. In India and Pakistan, the area under forests and under cultivation increased substantially throughout the post-independence period. The annual growth rates were higher in Pakistan than in India: the forest area increased at an annual growth rate of 1.91% and 0.75% in Pakistan, well above the figures of British India before independence. In India, the growth rates were lower than in Pakistan but comparable to rates recorde before independence.

2. During post-independence period, output (Q) in Pakistan grew at 3.5 percent per annum while Output/Area (Q/A) increased at 2.3 percent. Therefore, the major contribution to agri growth after independence came from increase in land productivity.

3. The level of growth was highest in Pakistan, followed by India, with Bangladesh at the bottom.

4. In all three countries, the growth rate of land productivity was not high enough to cancel the negative growth of land availability per capita. But the output per capita growth in Pakistan continues to be higher than in India and Bangladesh.

Riaz Haq said...

There seems to be consensus developing among Pakistani economists that "prompt measures needed to control rising inflation", according to a report in Daily Times:

LAHORE: Pakistan is fast heading towards higher inflation and to overcome this grim scenario; improvement in governance coupled with a drastic cut in expenditure and revenue generation is crucial.

The doom and gloom scenario needs an urgent handling. Good governance, good policies, good institutions, good macroeconomic management are the drivers of economic growth that have gone dormant for quite some time. This was the crux of the speeches delivered at Economic Dialogue 2011 held at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday. Senior economist Dr Akmal Hussain said the country is facing its gravest economic crisis in history after 1971. He said the economy is in deep recession, poverty along with high inflation is a recipe for disaster.

Unfortunately, he added, the government has zero fiscal space. He warned that Pakistan was heading towards higher inflation if immediate improvement in governance is not accompanied with cut in expenditure and substantial increase in revenue.

The former WB Executive Abid Hassan said that the institutional decay has now started taking its toll and the government should take appropriate measures on emergent basis to stop this decay. He said that with every passing day the country is going deeper and deeper into the economic mire. “Today we have reached a situation where even an economic stimulus would not work. The government should concentrate on tax collection and controlling unnecessary expenditures. Unless and until these two measures are not taken, the economy would not be able to be back on rails,” he said. The PIDE Vice Chancellor Dr Rashid Amjad said that the present day doom and gloom scenario could be changed by overcoming the acute energy shortage being witnessed by the country. The issue of circular debt needs to be taken care of by those sitting at the helm of affairs. “PSDP has a multiplier effect on the employment and economy. It should not be cut,” he said.

Former chief Economist Planning Commission Dr Pervaiz Tahir blamed the political chaos for our economic woes and termed the dictatorship democracy cycle as mother of all ills.

Energy sector expert Munawar Baseer, ex Executive committee member Almas Hyder and LCCI President Shahzad Ali Malik while appreciating the input provided by the economists said that most of the issues and challenges faced by the country are more of political. The political leadership while realizing the sensitivity of the situation should come up with a solid solution with close coordination with the chambers. “The policies are being made in isolation without the consultation of real stakeholders and that’s why the economic situation today has become more complex and directionless,” he said. The speakers said that the business community should be involved for the sake of correct decision-making.

They urged the government to evolve a more realistic and pragmatic framework by putting an end to inter-provincial disparity and the disparities within the province. The government should re-do its priority list and concentrate on the few areas that come on the top of that priority list.

It is very unfortunate, the speakers said, that the country has become the most inhospitable for both the local and the foreign investors for security reasons.

“Our inability to reach a consensus on water issue and inability to tap hydrocarbon potential of Balochistan has virtually pushed us to the wall,” they said. staff report

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan is not alone in being targeted by the doomsayers, many othrers, including India's cheerleader Fareed Zakaria, have also been betting against the United States for decades. Here's an excerpt from a Time Magazine Op Ed by David Von Drehle:

Poor U.S. of A., forever in decline. the arrival of public theaters in Boston circa 1790 caused Samuel Adams to despair for the cause of liberty in the face of such debauchery. "Alas!" he wrote. "Will men never be free!" Charles Lindbergh fretted, "It seems improbable that we could win a war in Europe." Long before baseball, hand-wringing was the national pastime. We've never been virtuous enough, civilized enough, smart enough or resolute enough.

I was born into a country reeling from Sputnik, which revealed to the whole world that Americans are as dumb as rocks. John F. Kennedy had just been elected President, in part by bemoaning the "missile gap" between the mighty Soviet arsenal and our paltry few bottle rockets. "The United States no longer carries the same image of a vital society on the move with its brightest days ahead," Kennedy said in his final debate with Richard M. Nixon. That's the same Nixon who declared eight years later, "We are worse off in every area of the world tonight than we were when President Eisenhower left office." Hard to believe we could sink further, but we did, as the nightmare of Vietnam segued into the nightmare of Watergate, while the Japanese exposed the insufficiency of American enterprise. As I stumbled off to college, President Jimmy Carter was warning us about "a crisis of confidence ... that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will." Thanks to our horrible schools, we were — according to the title of a major 1983 report — "A Nation at Risk." Then our family values went down the toilet.

You'd think America would be as washed up by now as the Captain and Tennille. So how come we're so much stronger than we were 50 years ago? Somehow, in the 235 years since we got started, Americans have weathered Boston theaters and Soviet science prodigies, violent lyrics and sex out of wedlock. We've survived a Civil War, two world wars and a Great Depression, not to mention immigrant hordes, alcohol, Freemasons and the "vast wasteland" of network television. We've dodged the population bomb, the coming ice age, acid rain and the domino effect. America is to nations what Roberto Clemente was to right fielders. The Pirates legend fretted endlessly about how poorly he felt and how sick he was — while vigorously spraying hits and vacuuming fly balls.

So don't reach for the defibrillator paddles or the rosary beads quite yet.

Read more:,8599,2056582,00.html#ixzz1Fk9nsZR9

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from an Op Ed in Newsweek Pakistan by Meekal Ahmed, a former IMF official:

The government hopes to generate Rs. 53 billion during the last quarter of the current financial year, which concludes on June 30. It hopes to achieve this by imposing a 15 percent surcharge on income tax paid by Pakistan’s paltry 1.7 million registered, individual taxpayers. Given the small tax base and modest yield, the surcharge seems unfair and not worth it. In a move that is regressive and potentially inflationary, depending on the market, excise duty on certain import items has been increased from 1 percent to 2.5 percent until end-June. While these measures are better than doing nothing at all—which is what happened during the first three quarters—they are far from ideal, and don’t go far enough to address the big problems with the economy.

But it’s not all bad. The elimination of tax exemptions for agricultural inputs (including tractors, fertilizers, and pesticides) was long overdue. With a strong agro-lobby preventing taxation on their handsome incomes in a sector that contributes 21 percent of GDP, the government might as well tax the inputs. Tax exemptions for export quality textiles sold within Pakistan have also been nixed despite resistance from the fierce textile lobby. The freeze on additional hiring in the public sector, and the 50 percent cut in several spending categories should also be welcomed.

Then there is the profusion of what many Pakistani media outlets call “petrol bombs”—highly unpopular oil price adjustments at the start of each month. The government announces the adjustments, and then rolls them back under popular and political pressure. The fuel price adjustments are unavoidable. Pakistan is a net oil importer and can’t insulate itself from global price shocks. Oil prices have risen steeply in the last three months, and have now crossed the psychologically important 100-dollar mark. Pakistan’s fuel subsidies—at an estimated Rs. 5 billion per month that could have been spent on development—are unaffordable and unsustainable. Oil prices will remain high for a while. Pakistanis must adjust to this reality. .....
Despite the new measures, doubts remain about the revised tax-revenue targets and the state’s capacity to achieve them. The Federal Board of Revenue is notorious for its chronic underperformance. The justification that there is a tax revenue shortfall because the economy is in recession holds no water. An economy expected to grow at around 3 percent is not, technically speaking, in recession, but is growing below its potential. There is no cycle for fiscal revenues in Pakistan: whether the economy grows at 3 percent or 7 percent, whether inflation is 2 percent or 25 percent, tax revenues fail to keep up. If they did not, there would be a constant tax-to-GDP ratio, which is actually falling. This trend points to the existence of deep-rooted structural deficiencies in the tax system, which is regressive, anti-poor and plagued by too many exemptions and concessions. Then there’s also corruption, abuse of the system, and evasion. Even taxes withheld at source are not deposited in the government’s account because of alleged connivance between withholding agents and tax officials.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are summary and salient points of Anatol Lieven's Pakistan: A Hard Country:

In the past decade Pakistan has emerged as a country of immense importance. Large, heavily populated, strategically placed between Iran, Afghanistan and India, Pakistan has since its creation just over sixty years ago been pulled in several different, irreconcilable directions.

In the wake of Pakistan's development of nuclear weapons, Osama Bin Laden's presence in its unpoliceable border areas, its shelter of the Afghan Taleban, and the spread of terrorist attacks by groups based in Pakistan to London, Bombay and New York, there is a clear need to understand this remarkable and highly contradictory place.

Far from seeing Pakistan as the failed state often portrayed in the media, Lieven's extraordinary new book instead treats it as a viable and coherent state that, within limits and by the standards of its own region rather than the West, does work. Lieven argues strongly against US actions that would risk destroying that state in the illusory search for victory in Afghanistan.

This work is based on a profound and sophisticated analysis of Pakistan's history and its social, religious and political structures. Lieven has interviewed hundreds of Pakistanis at every level of society, from leading politicians and soldiers to village mullahs and rickshaw drivers. In particular, his examination of the roots of popular sympathy for the Taleban in Pakistan draws on the testimony of people whose views are rarely consulted by Western analysts.

1. For most of the years since 1947, Pakistan has had higher economic growth rates than did India. Pakistan does not have the same pockets of extreme poverty, or for that matter the extreme wealth. The level of economic equality in Pakistan is relatively high.

2. Charitable donations run almost five percent of gdp, one of the highest percentages in the world and this reflects the emphasis on alms-giving in Islam.

3. A good quotation from a businessmen: “One of the main problems for Pakistan is that our democrats have tried to be dictators and our dictators have tried to be democrats.”

4. Agriculture pays virtually no tax and the government lends lots of money to businesses and doesn’t seriously ask for it back. As a result Pakistan collects far less revenue than does India, even comparing areas of comparable per capita income. If Pakistan were a state of India, it still would be considerably richer per capita than India’s poorest regions, such as Bihar.

5. The Pakistani state is nonetheless a lot more stable than most people think. In part this is because of the conservative structure of kinship and landholder power in the country.

6. The main threats to the future of Pakistan have to do with ecology and water, not politics.

7. The end of the book has a very interesting discussion about how U.S. actions in Pakistan affect different coalitions, feelings of humiliation, relative status relationships, etc.

Definitely recommended, as are Lieven’s books on the Baltics and Ukraine.


Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan bond offering withdrawn, says Dr. Ashfaque H. Khan:

Yet another debacle has occurred on the economic front, with the government failing to float its exchangeable bond in the international debt-capital market. In an act of desperation, the Pakistani economic manager had decided to launch a $500-million exchangeable bond with 10 percent shares of Oil and Gas Development Corporation (OGDC) attached to this transaction, the proceeds of which were to come by the end of the current fiscal year. It was the intention of the government to use these proceeds for retiring its State Bank debt and reducing its budget deficit to that extent.

The Pakistani team was informed by the global investors during the road show that they had little appetite for Pakistani paper at the moment, particularly in the presence of the Greek debt crisis and the unresolved issue of increase in the debt limit of the US administration. The Pakistani team did not pitch for the bond and returned empty-handed.

Why did Pakistan have to abandon its transaction? Are the economic managers aware of the consequences of such a colossal failure for the country? One thing is clear from the perspective of the economic managers: who cares about the country? They are there to improve their resumes.

What is an exchangeable bond? The country issues a normal sovereign bond with an option that the bondholder can convert the bond into common shares. The transaction under discussion provided an option to bondholders to convert their bonds into OGDC shares. The advantageous thing about such a bond is that it has the option for conversion of debt into portfolio investment.

There are many reasons for the failure of this transaction. Firstly, the timing for floating the bond was highly inappropriate. This is summertime, when investors close their books and go for vacations. Secondly, the international economic environment, particularly the persistence of the Greek debt crisis and the emergence of issue pertaining to enhancing the debt limit of the US administration have created severe uncertainty in the international debt-capital market.

Thirdly, Pakistan’s own economic fundamentals are weak. Why would anyone invest in a country’s paper whose debt is rising, budget deficit is averaging over six percent of the GDP, high double-digit inflation continuous persists for the last 45 months, and growth is slowing to an average of 2.6 percent per annum over the last four years. Fourthly, Pakistan’s relations with the IMF and other development financial institutions (DFIs) are not smooth. Fifthly, Pakistan’s relations with the United States are also on a bumpy ride. For an emerging market country, its relationships with the US, the IMF and the DFIs are critical in attracting global investors to invest in its paper.

Sixthly, Pakistan’s domestic political and security environment are not conducive to attract global investors to invest in Pakistani paper. Seventhly, the Pakistani team involved in this transaction, barring one member, was quite immature and had no idea whatsoever about the transaction. All these factors have contributed to the failure of the transaction, damaging the reputation of the country and OGDC. In order to save face, the economic team could call this transaction “non-deal road show.” But the international capital market participants are not novices. Word has already travelled across the globe that Pakistan has failed to find takers for its paper.
It is in this perspective that Pakistan floated its paper from February 2004 to May 2007. Each time the Pakistani paper was oversubscribed substantially. Pakistan emerged as one of the few countries which successfully floated a 30-year bond. This simply reflected the confidence of global investors in Pakistan’s economic management....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's The Express Tribune story on Pakistan's decision to cancel $500m bond offering:

Two (Pakistan) government teams, which went to London, Singapore and Bangkok for holding road shows, have come back. They did not pitch the bonds at investors, instead restricted the presentations to the state of Pakistan’s economy, said one of the officials who travelled abroad for the road shows.

Another official, who also took part in the road shows, said foreign investors told the visiting teams that capital markets were nervous at this time because of a couple of international developments. They proposed that Pakistan should wait until the Greece debt crisis and issue of increase in debt limit for the Obama administration are resolved.

“In an effort to keep the budget deficit at manageable levels, the government wants to float $500 million worth of bonds before June-end,” said a spokesman for the finance ministry. Economists and a parliamentary panel have advised against the transaction, arguing that long-term assets cannot be consumed to settle short-term liabilities.

Sources in the Privatisation Commission told The Express Tribune that the government suddenly decided to convert the road shows into a ‘no-deal’ event, where it would not disclose the size of the bonds and the indicative interest rate it wants to pay.

Despite questions put up by international investors, the teams did not disclose details of the bonds. A Privatisation Commission official said the investors were keen to know the coupon price but the officials remained tight-lipped.

The Cabinet Committee on Privatisation has approved the term-sheet of the exchangeable bonds with an indicative mark-up ceiling ranging between 6.5 and 8.5 per cent.

Sources said international investors expressed interest in the bonds, as they were keen to invest in the energy company. However, some of them raised questions about Pakistan’s relationship with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Fund has suspended the $11.3 billion bailout programme since May 2010 after the government failed to meet some conditions.

IMF and European Union approved a 110-billion-euro bailout package for Greece last year but have withheld payment of a tranche of 12 billion euros that will help Athens pay its debts coming due by September. The international lenders have asked Greece to first place deep cuts on spending, prompting riots across the country. The Greek parliament on Tuesday voted for reforms but still IMF has not disbursed the tranche.

On the other hand, the United States too is coping with a crisis to avoid defaults on payments as the Obama administration reached its borrowing limit of $14.3 trillion on May 16. The administration sought an increase in the debt limit to avoid default that was overwhelmingly rejected by the House on May 31, reported the ....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a piece from The News on Pakistan's oil and gas sector titled "Pakistan Economy 1947-2011":

KARACHI: Oil and gas sector in Pakistan has seen phenomenal growth since the independence in 1947, as till now 791 wells have been drilled by various local and international exploration companies with over 250 oil and gas discoveries, official data revealed.

The data suggests that these discoveries have brought the gas reserves to 29 trillion cubic feet (TCF), whereas the crude oil recoverable reserves are estimated at 304 million barrels.

At the time of independence, the oil quantities produced were scarce and at that time there was no gas production. Over these years the petroleum industry has played a significant role in the national development by making large indigenous gas discoveries and inviting huge investments, both local and foreign, in the sector.

An investment of $810 million was spent in drilling activities with 30 new wells drilled during the last year.

After the independence of Pakistan, the government promulgated Regulation of Mines and Oilfields and Mineral Development (Government Control) Act, 1948 and issued rules there under in 1949.

The aim of the act was to provide regulatory certainty for exploration and production business that was essential to encourage and accelerate petroleum exploration activities.

Thereafter BOC and AOC established local companies, Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) and Pakistan Oilfields Limited (POL), respectively and transferred exploration activities to these companies.

In 1952, a well drilled on the Sui structure in Central Indus Basin, made the maiden discovery of large reserves of natural gas in the Sui Main Limestone of Early Eocene age.

The original recoverable gas reserves were estimated to be over 10 trillion cubic feet (TCF) equivalent to about one billion barrels of oil.

The discovery of Sui Gas Field was the first major milestone in the search for hydrocarbons in Pakistan.

Following the natural gas discovery at Sui, several foreign oil companies took active interest in carrying out exploration in Pakistan. This led to further exploratory drilling in prospective areas.

The government of Pakistan then decided to undertake the search for oil and gas directly and established the state oil exploration company.

The Oil and Gas Development Corporation was established in September 1961, subsequently, incorporated as a joint stock company with the listing at the local stock exchanges under the name of the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL).

OGDCL’s first success was the small gas discovery at Sari Singh in Sindh in 1965.

Pakistan remains an active and prospective exploration country. Significant finds continue to be made in the existing producing areas, as well as in less-explored regions.

The proven rate of exploration success and a sizeable domestic oil and gas market present promising investment opportunities.

In order to remain attractive in highly competitive global exploration market, the government has been making progressive changes in the investment polices and regulations at regular intervals. With first E&P policy of 1991, Pakistan caught the attention of international petroleum industry.

Further subsequent improvements through policies of 1993, 1994, 1997 made Pakistan an attractive location for upstream investment.

Pakistan overhauled the policy in 2001 and then in 2009. On account of combination of factors such as improved returns on investment based on new fiscal incentives, transparent and open regulatory environment, induction of market reforms and technological advances, the government expects positive influence on local upstream market and hopes that forward momentum will be maintained.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an except from a piece written by Mudassar Mazhar Malik, an MIT (Sloan) and LSE (London) educated Pakistani economist and investment banker, for Maleeha Lodhi's compendium "Pakistan Beyond The Crisis State" on his assessment of Pakistan today:

"First, despite seven changes in government in the past twenty years, Pakistan has maintained an average growth rate of 5 percent per annum. Until recently, Pakistan was being touted as one of the most dramatic turn-around stories of the last decade. Driven by domestic demand and population growth, GDP growth averaged over 6% a year from 2003-2008. This translated into an investment and infrastructure led growth cycle cycle fueling expansion in the housing, health care, education, food, infrastructure, energy, telecommunications, IT and financial services sector. This has meant that Pakistan's economy has moved progressively from its traditional agricultural base to manufacturing and increasingly to services. In that sense, Pakistan's economic structure is closer to that of India and China, and is unlike many smaller Asian countries, which are more dependent on export growth."

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Businessweek report on IMF's assessment of Pakistan's economy:

Pakistan faces a “challenging” economic outlook and should seek to contain its deficit while adopting a cautious monetary policy, the International Monetary Fund said after an annual review of the country’s policies.

Economic growth is expected to reach about 3.5 percent for the fiscal year started July 1 and inflation is forecast to slow down, the Washington-based IMF said in a press release today.

Still, “the external current account balance is projected to return to a deficit, and global risk aversion and security concerns may limit capital inflows,” the IMF mission said. Beyond fiscal and monetary policies, “a responsive exchange rate would reduce vulnerabilities, contain inflation and protect Pakistan’s international reserve,” the fund said.

An $11.3 billion loan program to Pakistan expired in September with no payments disbursed since May 2010 because the country didn’t meet the conditions attached to it.

The IMF mission and Pakistani authorities, who met in Dubai and Islamabad Nov. 9-19, also discussed policies for the medium term, including changes to the tax system and in the energy sector.

A detailed report of Pakistan’s economy will be examined by the IMF board in late January, the mission said.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune story on a discussion at Inst of Business Admin in Karachi, Pakistan:

A vigorous difference of opinion among technocrats, economists and corporate leaders on a number of socio-economic issues was witnessed during an interactive session held at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) on Saturday. And at the end it was unclear whether democracy was the answer, or a dictatorship, as advocates for both arguments came up with pretty convincing logic.

Speaking at the session organised by IBA in collaboration with Blinck, a youth resource group, under the title of “New Year Resolutions for the Economy of Pakistan,” panellists candidly expressed disagreements over the questions of foreign aid, democracy and the interplay of policy-making and implementation at the national level.

“Many people think that a non-democratic set-up is a panacea for the economic problems of Pakistan. They’re wrong. A non-democratic government is not sustainable,” said Ishrat Husain, former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, who is currently serving as dean and director of IBA. “Democracy is slow and messy. It takes two steps forward and four steps backwards. Yet it’s the only option. The democratic process shouldn’t be interrupted.”

Husain said military regimes do make an extra effort in the beginning to improve the economy because they have not yet developed a constituency of their own. “But later on, they start making compromises.”

Claiming that a democracy needs low poverty and high literacy rates to prosper, Gillette Pakistan CEO Saad Amanullah Khan said Pakistan had only two eras of development: first, in the early 1960s, and second, during the first three years of the Musharraf government. “I don’t care if a dictator is there as long as he revamps the economy,” Khan said.

He said that the idea of a government led by technocrats that could bring the economy back on its feet had its relative merits. Khan emphasised the need for adopting a national vision for long-term growth, adding that the entire nation should work towards its realisation. “Go to Proctor & Gamble or Gillette, and they’ll tell you their five-year goals in detail. But ask a government representative what the vision for Pakistan is for the next five years, you won’t get any definite answer.”

Disagreeing with Khan, Husain said Pakistan did not need any more “visions,” as the problem existed in their implementation only. “The country is full of pious documents. These are beautifully written policy papers that nobody reads. We all agree on the substance of policy, but the implementation is the real issue.”

Responding to a question, former Asia editor for The Economist Simon Long said it was wrong to attribute Pakistan’s dismal economic performance of six decades to its culture or laid-back attitude to work. He said that 35 years ago people often assumed China’s poor economy was a consequence of Confucianism. He said it was now obvious that Confucianism had nothing to do with the slow growth in the economy of China.

Talking about Pakistan’s economic indicators, Long said an economy with a tax-to-GDP ratio of less than 9% was not sustainable. He said it was hard for him to understand how Pakistan’s economic managers would bring down the fiscal deficit in next two to three years.

In response to the comment of a business student that Pakistan should stay away from all kinds of foreign aid and assistance to achieve self-reliance, Husain said the assumption that the Pakistani economy depended on US aid to survive was wrong. “Isolationism won’t solve our problems. Transfer of knowledge and technology is important. You’ve to be outward-oriented.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune report tiled "Nokia Sees Pakistan Becoming a High-Growth Market":

KARACHI: Foreign delegates and local entrepreneurs discussed challenges facing businesses, sought greater industry-academia collaboration and highlighted business models to succeed in an emerging market at the 12th Management Association of Pakistan (MAP) Convention on Leadership Challenges for Business Success here on Wednesday.

Emerging markets will account for 80% of the world’s growth the next decade and Pakistan will be an important emerging market in future, Senior Vice President of Nokia India, Middle East and Africa Shivakumar said in a speech titled “Winning in emerging markets”.

Speaking to a conference packed with businessmen, Shivakumar – who is also the senior vice president of All India Management Association (AIMA) – said growth in developed economies has slowed down dramatically and the world is now looking at emerging markets, which account for 42% of population and 13% of income.

Pakistan is listed in four categories of emerging markets including Dow Jones 35 and emerging and growth level economies (EAGLES), he said. “Pakistan will be an important high-growth emerging market.”

In order to succeed in an emerging economy, he said, it is important to understand its segments and consumers. The emerging market consumers – most of whom live under $2 a day – are value-sensitive and not price-sensitive, he said and added entrepreneurs have to work on their business models to accommodate that segment of consumers who believe in the doctrine of “pay more, get more” and “pay less, get less”.

Sharing his experiences, he said, there are three things that he applied and succeeded. “Always put the country’s interest first, keep fixed costs very low and turn as many cost variables as possible,” he said.

“Never cut the features and offer your product at half the price. Consumers don’t want an incomplete product.”

Speaking to the participants earlier on, event’s chief guest and State Bank of Pakistan Governor Yaseen Anwar said it is time for all business leaders and managers to take the lead. Leaders must be more aware of the challenges facing the country – inflation, unemployment and power crisis.

There are no shortcuts to sustained economic development, Anwar said. “We need to develop the right strategies and then translate these strategies into action.”

AIMA President Rajiv Vastupal also addressed the event, saying IMF has lowered growth projection for both 2011 and 2012. “Today’s corporate leaders must focus on innovation to counter the global economic challenges,” he said. He elaborated the successful example of Apple’s iPad, which was launched during recession and earned a great success.

Riaz Haq said...

There's much talk of disparity between East and West Pakistan before Bangladesh separated from Pakistan in 1947:

Let's see what has happened in BD vs Pakistan since 1971:

1. In 1969-70, the ratio of per capita income between West and East Pakistan was 1.6, as published by Bangladesh's Daily Star.

In 2010, the ratio has increased to 1.7, according to IMF.

2. Bangladesh is still categorized by the World Bank among the least developed countries of the world because it started with a lower base than West Pakistan, and the loss of its Hindu business elite in 1947 left it worse off. It also didn't have the benefit of the large number of Muslim businessmen who migrated to West Pakistan, particularly Karachi, after partition.

3. Pakistani economist Dr. Ishrat Husain explains it well when he says that "although East Pakistan benefited from Ayub’s economic reforms in 1960s, the fact that these benefits were perceived as a dispensation from a quasi-colonial military regime to its colony—East Pakistan—proved to be lethal."

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Wall Street Journal on Bilawal Bhutto's first ever Op Ed published in Pakistan's Express Tribune:

Mr. Bhutto Zardari uses his op-ed, published in the English-language Express Tribune newspaper, to enumerate what he sees as his mother’s achievements, including pushing women’s rights. The PPP in the 1980s could have used its popular position to unseat the military-run government of the time, but did not do so, he writes. “The PPP has always been careful to distinguish between the army as an institution and the dictator who abuses his position,” he says.

It’s a challenge to the military to stay out of politics. And it seems that army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani for now has no designs to take over the government.

Still, the PPP is a lot less popular in Pakistan than it was in Ms. Bhutto’s day and you sense her son feels that. In many places of the op-ed, it feels as if he is writing as the head of an opposition party, not co-chairman of the ruling PPP.

“We can only dream of what might have been had she lived,” he writes at one point of his mother.

He enumerates the challenges facing Pakistan –from education, to energy shortages to the investment-starved economy – but offers no solutions. It’s easy to forget reading it that the PPP is in power.

Here's an excerpt from Bilawal's Op Ed:

What we do know is that there are 86,000 more schools because of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. That, under her government foreign investment quadrupled; energy production doubled; exports boomed. Under her government, 100,000 female health workers fanned out across the country, bringing health care, nutrition, pre and postnatal care, to millions of our poorest citizens. It was under her government that women were admitted as judges to the nation’s courts, that women’s police departments were established to help women who suffered from domestic violence and a women’s bank was established to give micro loans to women to start small businesses. It was under Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s leadership that cell phones, fibre optics and international media were introduced, and the Pakistani software industry blossomed. And it was on her very first day as prime minister, that all political prisoners were freed, unions legalised and the press uncensored. It was an amazing record of accomplishment, made even more remarkable by the constraint of aborted tenures, by constant pressure from a hostile establishment and presidents with the power to sack elected governments.

orezavi said...

Hi, great write up.

However this does not go any further back than the 1990's, as I assumed from the title of the post.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from an interesting Friday Times Op Ed on Pakistan's undocumented (informal & illegal) economy:

The economy is in the doldrums, but that is not news any more. What is more interesting, and more difficult to investigate, is what is happening in the world beyond the survey operator and tax collector's ambit. Papers published by the Social Policy Development Center (SPDC) in Karachi and the State Bank place the informal economy in a range of 20 to 30 percent of GDP. But most of this undocumented economy does not include strictly illegal, or shall we say criminal, practice.
that militant groups are running their own businesses (during the TNSM's movement in Swat, emerald mines were reputed to be in the hands of Maulana Fazlullah's men); that militants and terrorists are even coming up with new ways to generate funds (kidnapping for ransom being a case in point).
According to data from the UN, Afghanistan produced about 90% of the global output of opium in 2007. This fell to just over 62% by 2010 (with Myanmar accounting for most of the rest). Three quarters of the poppy production was in the provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, which border Pakistan. Domestic consumption of opium in Afghanistan is next to nil. Also, the country does not legally import the chemicals needed to process opium into heroin, although these are imported in Pakistan for legitimate uses. Almost 7,000 metric tons of opium, both raw and processed, in the form of morphine and heroin, leaves Afghanistan and finds its way to the lucrative markets of Western Europe.
With close to 80 suicide attacks in 2010, about 400 rocket attacks, and about 350 bomb blasts in addition to target killings, use of improvised explosive devices etc, its not hard to deduce that there is a significant trade in arms and ammunition in Pakistan. The ISAF container scam case led to some interesting findings. There were the obvious conclusions - including that the abuse of the Afghan Transit Trade facility is massive. More tellingly, the Supreme Court's suo moto case found that 7,922 ISAF containers simply went missing. In addition to the packed meals, the alcohol and the camp supplies stamped with ISAF logos that appear in border markets, the possibility of pilferage of more dangerous items cannot be ruled out.

The smuggling masked by the Afghan Transit Trade is another story altogether, and according to some stakeholders extends to the illegal trade in timber, antiquities and gemstones stemming from that unfortunate nation. Being a neighbor to a land-locked, war-ravaged country with no semblance of law and order was never going to be easy. But Pakistan's governance failures have made a bad situation worse.

There's much more to Pakistan's economy than meets the eye, and many of the more interesting activities are practically impossible to investigate unless someone is prepared to take considerable personal risks. The few pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that are available from public data and information paint a tantalizing picture. If the downslide of the formal economy continues, things could get even more interesting.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts from a Dawn report on World Bank's assessment of Pakistan's economy:

...Pakistan is South Asia’s second largest economy, representing about 15 per cent of regional GDP.
The portion on Pakistan points out that the country’s economy firmed in the second half of 2011. Industrial production surged to grow at a robust 32.1pc annualised pace during the three months ending in October, after falling at 9.1 and 10.1pc rates during the first and second quarters, respectively.

Part of the strengthening in growth reflects base effects due to the widespread flooding that had hampered activity in the second half of 2010. Since the floods occurred in July and August 2010, GDP growth on a fiscal year basis (ending June-2011) slowed to 2.4pc.

The report notes that Pakistan’s weak growth outturns are also tied to “worsening security conditions, accompanied by greater political uncertainty and a breakdown in policy implementation”.

The report also notes that “infrastructure bottlenecks, including disruptions in power delivery,” remain widespread.

A notable bright spot has been a strengthening of exports, evident particularly in the first half of 2011, led by textiles that surged 39pc in the first half of the year.However, like India, Pakistan’s export volume growth saw a sharp fall-off in October.

Indeed, Pakistan’s export volumes fell to a minus 46pc rate in the three-months ending October.

Along with an upswing in worker remittances inflows, robust exports have supported Pakistan’s external positions and contributed to an improvement in the current account from a deficit of 0.9pc of GDP in 2010 to a surplus of close to 0.5pc of GDP in the 2011 calendar year.

The World Bank notes that monetary tightening in Pakistan brought about positive real lending rates in early 2011 as well, the first time since late 2009.
The bank points out that for South Asian nations, including India and Pakistan, domestic crop conditions and price controls are more important determinants of domestic food price inflation.
Regional monetary policy authorities face several challenges in reducing inflation.

More recently, currency devaluation has contributed to inflation as well. In Pakistan, monetary authorities have also been monetising the deficit, complicating the efficacy of other monetary policy efforts to reduce inflation.

A key factor working against monetary policy efforts is the overall stance of fiscal policy, which despite some consolidation, remains very loose.

Monetary authorities in Pakistan have responded to persistent price pressures by raising policy interest rates and/or introducing higher reserve requirements.

Lower revenue growth has contributed to larger fiscal deficits in Pakistan. Terms of trade losses are estimated at about 1.9pc of GDP for the region in aggregate. India and Pakistan saw negative impacts of close to 1.8pc of GDP – estimated January through September 2011 terms of trade impacts relative to 2010.

Remittance inflow to Pakistan rose by an estimated 25pc in 2011, partly in response to the widespread flooding in the second half of 2010.

International reserve positions in South Asia have generally improved since mid-2008. Latest readings of foreign currency holdings were equivalent to at least three-months of merchandise imports in Pakistan.
A good crop year (2011-12) in much of South Asia and sustained high regional stocks are providing a buffer for grain prices and import demand in 2012....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn report on ADB's assessment of Pakistan economy:

...After devastating summer floods caused economic growth to slow to 2.4 per cent in the 2010/11 fiscal year, ADB country director for Pakistan Werner Liepach forecast growth to pick up to just 3.6 per cent in 2011/12. The government targets an expansion of 4.2 per cent.

“Short-term there are huge challenges… (the) next few months will continue to be protracted as there are repayments and not enough inflows, reserves will go down,” Liepach said.

“But I don’t see a crash coming, and I don’t see the economy taking off either and that’s not good enough.”

There is grave concern amongst analysts about a possible balance of payments crisis as Pakistan’s current account deficit has widened to $2.154 billion in the first six months of the 2011/12 fiscal year.

Pakistan had a surplus of $8 million in the same period last year.

The deficit is likely to widen further in the coming months because of debt repayments and a lack of external aid.

The country’s foreign exchange reserves stood at $16.90 billion in week ending Jan. 13, compared with its record of $18.31 billion in July last year.

The pressure on reserves is likely to continue especially as IMF repayments start from next month.
Pakistan has to repay IMF about $1.1 billion by the end of 2011/12 fiscal year.

“Pakistan has huge potential and not all is negative or gloom and doom,” said Liepach. “I am positive in the long term if right decisions are taken today.”

Pakistan has been criticised over its slow implementation of fiscal reforms which include elimination of energy subsidies and restructuring of the state owned utilities.

The government also received criticism for not being committed towards implementing the necessary reforms to bring the economy back on track.

“The people who we are talking to in the government, technocrats, they are committed and want to see the benefits and improvements in Pakistan, they are very sincere in bringing a change in Pakistan,” said Liepach.

“But when you move away from the technocrat level, that’s when it becomes more complicated. It is a complex decision making system.”

Focus on projects and delivery of results

ADB’s focus and therefore assistance largely now revolves around projects with four core areas, energy, urban services, water infrastructure and irrigation, and transport.

“We want to fight poverty through growth and right now our business is focused on implementation of projects and to get results on ground,” said Liepach.

ADB does not require a letter of comfort from the IMF for approval or disbursement of project-based assistance.

ADB has an envelope of $2.9 billion for energy for Pakistan until 2016, out of which $1.4 billion has been utilised and $1.5 billion remains to be drawn down by the government.

Pakistan’s power sector faces a shortfall that often peaks at 5,000 megawatts per day.

For urban services, the board has approved $300 million, out of which $260 million remains, water infrastructure and irrigation $900 million has been approved with about $400 million left to be drawn down and $1.1 billion has been approved for transport, and $700 million is left.

Government can draw down the assistance when a project is approved and made effective.

“It’s a success when power reaches families and industries or when water becomes available to the families etc,” said Liepach.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Global Post story on NATO using smugglers to supply its troops in Afghanistan through Pakistan:

With few other options available to it since Pakistan closed its border crossings almost two months ago, NATO has at times resorted to paying local smugglers to get much-needed supplies to its troops fighting in Afghanistan, Pakistani officials say.

The Pakistani and Afghan smugglers, who must pay bribes to militants to travel safely through some areas, navigate treacherous routes over the 1,800-mile mountainous divide that separates the two countries to bring containers of oil, food and other essential items — all at a price — to soldiers on the other side.

“Borders mean nothing to us. We have been crossing in and out for centuries,” Sahib Khan, a smuggler who said NATO had hired him, told GlobalPost.

The hiring of illegal smugglers came after a failed attempt by NATO to pay private companies, which truck goods across the border under the Pakistan-Afghanistan Free Trade Agreement (PATA). These private companies, Pakistani officials said, were secretly swapping out their normal cargo for NATO supplies until Pakistani security forces caught wind of the scam.

A senior officer for the Frontier Corps, an elite military unit that is responsible for security along the border, told GlobalPost that a total ban on the movement of containers under PATA, which was signed in 2010 to promote bilateral trade, eventually foiled the strategy.

“We had concrete evidence that some of the containers being imported by private companies, under PATA, were being used to smuggle supplies for NATO troops under cover of commercial imports,” the official said.
Smuggling between Pakistan and Afghanistan has long been a profitable and vibrant business. Various trade agreements have been signed between the two neighbors in a bid to contain the practice, but high import and export taxes coupled with little government oversight, thwarted those attempts.

Mostly items like flour, edible oil, lentils, dried vegetables, contraband cigarettes, and animals for meat are smuggled into Afghanistan, while spare auto parts, electronics and unregistered vehicles are smuggled the other direction.

Smuggling is so widespread that it has become the backbone of the economy in towns and villages along the border, where locally it is treated simply as normal trade. The mountainous terrain provides an edge over security to smugglers who regularly trickle across the border without any trouble.

Sahib said that most of the food and oil supplies he has carried across the border for NATO originate from the southern port city of Karachi, and are moved through Peshawar and Quetta, and finally through Pakistan’s tribal areas, which are largely under the authority of various militant groups.

For those militants, the smugglers have been an important source of income. Smugglers are required to pay “rahdari,” or “passage,” an unofficial tax that allows them safe passage.

“Once we are onto the route, it’s the responsibility of those who receive rahdari to ensure we are able to safely enter into Afghanistan,” Sahib said.

Any smuggling that is done on behalf of NATO can in no way make up for the closed borders, however. Smugglers say they carry between 20 and 25 small containers a day while, when the border crossings were open, NATO shipped an average of 250 large containers a day — making the reopening of the borders essential to the war effort.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a summary of Pakistan's economy since 2008 as published in The Nation:

Pakistan’s macroeconomic indicators had shown a declining trend in last three years (fiscal years 2008-9 to 2010-11) mainly because of disastrous floods and also involvement in the war on terror.

According to the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP), Pakistan’s economy witnessed a sharp downturn in last fiscal year 2010-11 and recorded at 2.4 percent, whereas in year 2009-2010 the economy saw a rise in GDP growth i.e. 3.8 percent compared to the 1.7 percent of the year 2008-2009.

During the course of last three years, inflationary pressures have intensified and caused serious threats to macroeconomic stability. In fiscal year 2008-09, the observed inflation rate was 17.03 per cent that fell down to 10.10 percent in 2009-10 and then again witnessed a rise of 13.7 percent during the year 2010-11. However, GDP at current market price increased from Rs 12,724 billion in 2008-09 to Rs 18,063 billion in 2010-11.

The PRSP further revealed that investment as percentage of the GDP fell to 13.4 percent in fiscal year 2010-11 from 18.2 percent in 2008-9. The deceleration in investment owes mainly to the intensification of war on terror, the haphazard security environment and high profile killings over the last few years. On the contrary, the national savings as percentage of GDP showed some resilience and marked a growth of 13.6 percent in the FY 2010-11 as compared to FY 2009-10 in which growth was 13.1 percent. Despite this increase in growth rate, the national savings fell short of the targeted rates.

The nominal exchange rate (Rs/$) has been on an increasing trajectory over the last three years. The exchange rate reached a record level of 85 (Rs/$) in FY2010-11 as compared to 78.5 in FY2008-09 and 83.8 in FY 2009-10 (i.e. 78.5 & 83.8) almost meeting the projected PRSP nominal exchange rates. The population rate is on a continual rise since last three years, notably from 168.2 million in FY 2008-9 to 175.31 million in FY 2010-11.

Meanwhile, during the last three years, Pakistan’s fiscal position worsened considerably as its fiscal deficit rose to Rs 1194.4 billion in FY 2010-11 from Rs. 680.4 billion in FY 2008-9. The increase in current expenditures was at the cost of drastic cuts in development expenditures. The catastrophic floods that hit Pakistan slowed the economic growth drastically and posed grave challenges for limited revenues. The urgent additional spending to meet the humanitarian and reconstruction needs worsened the fiscal balance. Fiscal deficit as a percentage of GDP has seen a persistent increase in the last few years. Fiscal deficit rose from 5.3 percent in FY2008-9 to 6.6 percent in FY 2010-11.

A low and decreasing tax to GDP ratio and increasing public debt stock has imposed a constraint on fiscal stimulus to support revival of growth momentum needed for the economy. Pakistan is confronted with the issue of stagnant tax to GDP ratio; owing mainly to structural deficiencies in the tax and administration system.
Exchange rate of Pak Rupee reflected stability during the course of three years as it depreciated nominally by 0.7 percent in FY 2010-11 against 4.7 percent in FY 2009-10 and 12 percent in FY2008-9. This improved stability in Pak Rupee/US$ is attributable to encouraging performance witnessed in the external account.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Businessweek story on Pakistan's informal economy:

It’s early morning in Karachi, Pakistan’s biggest city, and Muhammad Nasir is outside his makeshift shelter of palm leaves, rags, and bamboo, washing up after breakfast. He uses water stolen from a nearby supply pipe that belongs to the local water utility. The 17-year-old bids farewell to his mother, an unlicensed midwife, and walks to his tire-repair shop, an open-air stand in a residential area with a table of tools and a wooden bench. He checks to make sure the electricity he’s drawing illegally from the overhead power line is on so he can run his tire pump. Then he sends 10-year-old Abid, one of his two employees, along with 12-year-old Irfan, to get tea from a nearby shop.

Nasir’s business, his home, his power and water supply, and even the cup of tea Abid brings him don’t exist in Pakistan’s official figures. They’re part of another economy that doesn’t pay taxes or heed regulations. It probably employs more than three quarters of the nation’s 54 million workers and is worth as much as 50 percent of Pakistan’s 18 trillion rupee ($200 billion) official gross domestic product. And while the documented economy had its smallest expansion in a decade at 2.4 percent in the year ended June 2011, soaring demand for cars, cement for houses, and other goods shows the underground market is thriving.
the nation’s purchasing power is more than estimated, says Nadeem Naqvi, managing director of the Karachi Stock Exchange. Rising crop prices have pumped an extra 1 trillion rupees into the rural economy in the past four years, most of it undocumented, Naqvi says. He estimates agriculture may account for as much as 35 percent of GDP, instead of the 21 percent reported.

Evidence of consumer demand is everywhere as new shopping malls and restaurants in Karachi are filled to capacity. Car sales rose 14 percent in February from a year earlier, as more people could afford a Toyota Corolla or Suzuki Mehran (a small hatchback), according to the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association. More than half a million motorbikes hit the road in the eight months ended February, a 5 percent increase, perhaps a sign that Nasir’s tire business has a bright future. ..
The bottom line: If participants in Pakistan’s undocumented economy paid their taxes, the government would collect an extra 800 billion rupees.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune report on Pakistan economic growth in current fiscal year:

Pakistan’s economy grew by 3.2%, which is much below the official target and the required growth rate, leaving at least 1.3 million people jobless this year.

“According to a provisional assessment, gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 3.2% in the financial year 2011-12 ending June 30,” said Sohail Ahmad, Secretary of Statistics Division, after chairing the 91st meeting of the National Accounts Committee, convened to finalise the growth figure.

Estimates are based on provisional information for eight to nine months, which is used for projection for the entire year.

This growth figure remains below the target of 4.2% and even less than the conservative estimates of the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank that put the growth at 3.6%.

The committee’s data shows that the major push came from commodity producing sectors – agriculture and industry – as the government missed its services growth target with a wide margin.

Net national income increased by Rs282.5 billion and, with the year’s population growth rate at 2.05%, per capita income rose by 1.3%.

“The growth rate is not enough to absorb two million people entering the job market every year,” said Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan, Dean Business School of NUST. For creating jobs for the new entrants, a 7% to 8% growth was required, but due to the low rate 1.2 to 1.3 million young people remained unemployed this year.

Average growth for the last five years – covering all the period of Pakistan Peoples Party-led coalition government which came to power in March 2008 – stood at just 2.58%. In 2008, the economy grew by 2.2%, in 2009 2.8%, in 2010 1.8% and in 2011 3%, said Arif Cheema, Director General of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

Agriculture sector (24.7% of GDP)

The agricultural sector that pushed the overall growth rate up saw a robust growth due to improvement in soil fertility after floods for two years. Against the target of 3.4%, the sector grew by 3.6%.

Targets for major crops and forestry growth were surpassed. Compared to the target of 3%, major crops grew by 6.1% while forestry growth was 4.1% against the target of 2%.

However, production of minor crops dropped 2% against the target of 2% growth. Targets for wheat, sugarcane and rice production were also missed. Against the target of 25 million tons, wheat output was 23.5 million tons.

Rice production stood at 6.2 million tons compared to the target of 6.6 million tons while sugarcane harvest remained at 56.3 million tons against the target of 57.6 million tons.

Industrial sector (22.2% of GDP)

The industrial sector, which rose by 1.9% last year, expanded 3.6% this year because of growth in electricity, gas and water supply sub-sectors. The industrial growth target was 3.2%. Electricity and gas sectors grew by 15.5% against the target of just 1%. “We have added subsidies to the output of electricity generation, which is according to international norms,” said Arif Cheema.

Growth rate for mining and quarrying stood at 1.7% against the target of 1% while the manufacturing sector grew by 2.4% against the target of 3.7%. In the manufacturing sector, large-scale manufacturing rose by just 1.64% while the construction sub-sector, which last year contracted by around 1%, saw a growth of 2.8% this year.

Services sector (53.1% of GDP)

The government missed the services sector growth
target of 5% by a wide margin, as the biggest component of the economy rose by just 2.2% due to contraction in banking and financial sectors.

The finance and insurance sectors contracted by 11%, said Arif Cheema. The growth targets of all sub-sectors, except for ownership and dwellings, were missed....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET piece on history of economic growth under various leaders since 1947:

The Express Tribune took the trouble to go through Pakistan’s historical GDP growth rates and compared various governments. We used GDP growth numbers from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics records, which go all the way back to fiscal year 1952. We then calculated the geometric average (which calculates the compound average growth rate) rather than the simple arithmetic average to calculate the growth rates during the entire tenure of a government and then we ranked them. The results were somewhat surprising.

For instance, former President Ayub Khan – widely regarded as Pakistan’s best ruler when it comes to economic growth – is actually in second place. The number one spot is held by former President Ziaul Haq, who averaged 5.88% growth during his 11 years in office.

For fans of President Ayub who insist that his record before the 1965 war was better, we checked: it is not true. Pakistan’s growth rate during that period averaged 5.73% per year, which is actually lower than President Ayub’s own overall average of 5.82%. Having said that, industrial growth from the 1958 coup to the 1965 war averaged 9.21%, higher than any Pakistani ruler’s record, including Ayub’s own overall average of 8.51%.

Another surprising insight: if one ranks the ten rulers Pakistan has had since 1952 according to the average economic growth rate during their tenure, both the top five and the bottom five include three dictators and two democrats.

Yes, the top three slots are undoubtedly all taken up by the usual suspects: former Presidents Ziaul Haq, Ayub Khan and Pervez Musharraf, in that order. The next two are somewhat surprising: Benazir Bhutto comes in at fourth place and her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is not far behind. The supposedly pro-markets Nawaz Sharif comes in at seventh place.

Yet another surprise: Benazir Bhutto’s average was 5.08%, not far off from Pervez Musharraf’s 5.14%. She beat her rival Nawaz Sharif by a full percentage point: Pakistan’s economic growth averaged 4.06% during Nawaz Sharif’s both terms as prime minister.

Length of time in office appears to matter far more than whether the ruler was a dictator or a democrat. The top three were all in office for at least nine years, with the top two each in office for eleven years. Yahya Khan, Iskandar Mirza and Ghulam Muhammad – none of whom was democratically elected or subject to a popular mandate – all come in close to the bottom of the rankings. None of them had longer than four years in office.

But the more intriguing question to ask is why both the Bhuttos vastly outperform Nawaz Sharif.

The answer lies in the breakup of the GDP number: while Nawaz beat both Bhuttos on industrial growth, he was abysmal when it comes to agriculture. Benazir Bhutto was the best in Pakistani history for agriculture, which grew at an average of 6.65% during her five years in office.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, meanwhile, had blowout growth in services, averaging 10.63% during his only term in office, the highest of any Pakistani ruler. (Oddly enough, the elder Bhutto had a poor track record on agriculture, despite his family background. Agriculture grew at a paltry 2.12% per year during his tenure, worse even than Nawaz.)

For those who are currently pessimistic about Pakistan’s economic prospects, you may find some comfort in knowing that the numbers back you up: President Asif Ali Zardari ranks dead last in terms of economic growth, averaging a paltry 2.62% during his term in office so far.

Usman said...

My favorite part of comment section? Indians.

GDP GROWTH RATE – Source WorldBank

Pakistan 6%
India 3%

Pakistan 6%
India 3%

Pakistan 11%
India 5%

Pakistan 10%
India 5%

Pakistan 4%
India 5%

Pakistan 4%
India 4%

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Mail piece on the economic history of the world since Jesus:

A stunning chart that shows the entire economic history of the world's most powerful countries over the past 2,000 years has been released by investment bank JP Morgan.

Viewed as a whole, the graph shows the creeping restoration of Asian economic supremacy as the rest-of-the-world catches up to the West and its levels of industrialisation.

Charting the globe's 10 major powers since the time of Jesus, the graph can be broken down by simply applying a cut off point at around the 1800 AD mark.

That was the birth of the Industrial Revolution in the U.K. and when taken into account, everything to the left of that mark can bee seen as economic power through sheer size of population and to the right is the effect of mass production on a country's economic output.

One feature of the simple graph is to show that up until around 1500 AD India and China accounted for between 50 and 60 percent of the world's economy until the late 18th century when the Industrial Revolution rendered countries with large populations, just countries with the largest populations.

In 1 AD, China had a population of almost 60 million people, while the United States had a population of 680,000.

It took the United States 1800 years to overtake China's economic output.

But by 1950, even though the U.S had a population three times less than China, it's economic output was three times as great.

Additionally, in 1913, China had a population of 437 million and the U.K. had a population of 45 million, but their economic output was almost identical.

Indeed, when the graph is broken down into its constituent parts, the analysis of what happened in Europe and later the United States shows that the Western lead was taken even before 1800.

For the majority of human history the most important factor in economic growth was the relationship between births and deaths.

If there were too many births then there was not enough food to go around and without mass production techniques people went without until there was starvation or disease.

After a higher death rate, a stable supply of food was re-established, goods were shared among a smaller group of people and everyone felt and became richer until the cycle occurred again.

However, between 1000 AD and 1500 AD, wages, or GDP per capita had started to slowly rise as small economies of scale were made in agrarian organisation and moderate technological advances were made which improved the quality and length of life.

If a similar graph is opened up to show the world from Jesus to Napoleon, the slow building growth especially of Europe is clear to see, even without factoring in the Industrial Revolution.

However, if the graph is expanded to show the world from 1500 to World War I then the effect of mechanisation on the planets economic growth is clear.

Theories about why the Industrial Revolution occurred in the U.K. and then Northern Europe include the dense, localised population, easy availability of natural resources and the mild climate that exists around the North Sea and the U.K. for cotton spinning.
As the world escaped the trap foreseen by Thomas Malthus of a rising population never matched by food production, population and GDP exploded.

The industrial revolution changed the Malthusian Trap leading to a situation today where the U.S. accounts for five percent of the world population and 21 percent of its GDP whereas Asia (minus Japan) has 60 percent of the world's population and only 30 percent of its GDP.

Hopewins said...

Dr. Haq,

As Dr. Ishrat Husain said, our economy lacks "macroeconomic stability" and is "extremely vulnerable to external conditions".

It is of interest to note that Dr. Husain said this in 2007, when the economy was still booming, and the very next year Pakistan was back in IMF intensive care. So we can only marvel at the insight and prescience of Dr. Husain that he could see it coming even during the boom-days.

If you go to the IMF folder for Pakistan,, and then subtract repayments (total) from disbursements (total) for all, you can clearly see the years in which Pakistan has been a NET borrower from the IMF.

The results are shown below.

Do you notice anything special? Do you see how accurate Dr. Husain was when he said "extremely vulnerable to external conditions"? Can you see how every little bump on the road immediately sends us back into the IMF Intensive Care Unit? Can you see how every little vibration causes our whole economy to rattle, shake violently and face collapse? Can you see the wake of following events in the IMF's Pakistan Record?

1) 1989 Japanese Crash & US Financial Panic
2) 1991-92 South-Asian Financial Crisis
3) 1994-95 Middle-Eastern Financial Crisis
4) 1998-99 Nuclear Tests & Resulting US Sanctions
5) 2001-02 Internet Bubble Bursts
6) 2008-10 Global Financial Crisis

The only bright spot is that we seemed to have escaped the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, mainly because we had very little trade or financial links at that time with the ASEAN+ countries anyway.

On the other hand, note that India was ONLY affected by the 1991 South-Asian Financial Crisis. It managed to just shrug-off the Japanese crash, the Middle-eastern troubles, the Nuclear-test Sanctions, the Internet Bubble and even the latest 2008 Global Financial Crisis. Why is that, Dr. Haq? After all, except in areas where Pakistan is clearly superior, Pakistan and India are more or less equivalent, aren't they?

Something to reflect upon.

Thank you.


PAKISTAN in IMF Intensive Care

Year Net Borrowing
2012 -
2011 -
2010 $891,398,010
2009 $1,955,576,000
2008 $1,951,241,837
2007 -
2006 -
2005 -
2004 -
2003 -
2002 $56,589,165
2001 $264,057,166
2000 -
1999 $275,149,166
1998 $16,485,500
1997 -
1996 -
1995 $18,120,000
1994 $250,331,500
1993 -
1992 $73,489,163
1991 $159,116,123
1990 -
1989 $298,221,274
1988 -
1987 -
1986 -
1985 -
1984 -


The Economist SAYS:

(a) Pakistan had constant balance-of-payments crises,
(b) Whereas India was a rare supplicant at the IMF.


INDIA in IMF Intensive Care

Year Net Borrowing
2012 -
2011 -
2010 -
2009 -
2008 -
2007 -
2006 -
2005 -
2004 -
2003 -
2002 -
2001 -
2000 -
1999 -
1998 -
1997 -
1996 -
1995 -
1994 -
1993 $324,500,000
1992 $834,000,000
1991 $1,622,855,762
1990 -
1989 -
1988 -
1987 -
1986 -
1985 -
1984 -


Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "As Dr. Ishrat Husain said, our economy lacks "macroeconomic stability" and is "extremely vulnerable to external conditions"."

Most of the world's economies that rely on external inflows to balance their current accounts are "extremely vulnerable to external conditions".

Noting India's significant dependence on foreign capital inflows, Goldman Sachs' Jim O'Neill raised a concern about the potential for current account crisis. "India has the risk of ... if they're not careful, a balance of payments crisis. They shouldn't raise people's hopes of FDI and then in a week say, 'we're only joking'". "India's inability to raise its share of global FDI is very disappointing," he said.

Hopewins said...

Dr. Haq,

Your summary of our Economy from 1947-2010 is good one on the whole. However, it lacks an analysis of directional trends. For example, if our economy "grew at a fairly impressive rate of 6 percent per year", was must of this growth back-loaded or front-loaded or was it more equally distributed? Is there a long-term trend visible in GDP growthrates? If so, is this long-term trend upwards or downwards?

Analysis of such trends are far more important while attempting to predict the future trajectory of our economy.

Here are some issues for you to start thinking about in terms the trajectories of long-term (30 years) trends in our economy:

A) 30-year Trend in GDP Growth-Rates

B) 30-year Trend in Investment Rates

C) 30-year Trend in Savings Rates

Thank you.

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "Analysis of such trends are far more important while attempting to predict the future trajectory of our economy."

Not when analyses lead you away from the reality of Pak economy.

The reality is that Pakistanis are seeing rising incomes.

There were 1.8 million Pakistani households (7.55% of all households) and 7.9 million Indian households (3.61% of all households) in 2009 with disposable incomes of $10,001 or more, according to Euromonitor.

This translates into 282% increase (vs 232% in India) from 1995-2009 in households with disposable incomes of $10,001 or more.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts of an interesting Op Ed in The Nation newspaper by former finance minister Shaukat Tarin:

Despite all the gloomy news and events that has started to define Pakistan, our national resilience remains intact. However, the question that is one every one’s mind is for how long?

Let’s start with the positives (yes there are always some!) of Present Day Pakistan;

• CP Inflation while high is showing signs of becoming range bound;

• Foreign Remittances continue to rise (the PRI scheme launched under my stewardship has borne fruit with remittances expected to cross the $l2b annual mark this year);

• We have finally started to debate/define our role in the devastating ‘War on Terror” and the end game of Afghan conflict has started to be played out.

• Pakistan’s banking system remains insulated from the Western banking meltdown.

• Booming Agrarian economy, despite devastating floods; with corporate sector moving into dairy, live-stock and value added processing.

• While most of the rest of the world is ageing our population is getting younger

• Democracy is still holding on!

However, we are far from the country we all aspire. The negative list (so to speak) is long, makes a somber reading, but largely includes:

• Lack of governance and transparency (lack of meritocracy).

• Unrelenting and crippling energy shortages.

• Lack of Scale/infrastructure to support GDP growth.

• Security and Law and order situation (Perception twice as worse as reality with the reality bad enough especially in Karachi and Quetta)

• Weak Social Sector reforms/indicators.

• Increasing friction amongst state institutions.

... the economic and social sector performance of Pakistan has also been severely impacted by the following:

1) Inability of the successive governments to balance their budgets by increasing tax to GDP ratio, reducing non-development expenses and losses of the Public sector enterprises.

2) Negligible expenditures on education and health sectors to develop our most important asset i.e. human resource.

3) Creating a competitive environment of high economic growth by focusing on the productive sectors of our economy such as agriculture and manufacturing, and

4) Focusing on infrastructure and energy sectors to facilitate the economic growth.

Whereas, we have seen efforts in the past to address these weaknesses they have been at best weak and far between.

The present economic scenario is again infected by the same weaknesses i.e. large fiscal deficits, low expenditure on education and health, chronic electricity and energy shortages, lack of focus on the productive sectors resulting in high inflation, high unemployment and low economic growth. We all want a Pakistan which is economically prosperous, institutionally resilient and strategically oriented. In essence, we want to make Pakistan an economic welfare state. In my view, a key pre-requisite for an Economic Welfare State is to ensure that a country experiences equitable and sustainable growth for a prolonged period of time. Look at the examples of India and China where uninterrupted economic growth has changes the whole value proposition of these countries.
To reduce our fiscal deficit we will have to increase our taxes. As I have said it many a times, all incomes will have to pay taxes and there cannot be any sacred cows. Agriculturists will have to pay their taxes and so should the retailers, real-estate developers stock-market and all professionals. Our tax to GDP is woefully inadequate at 9pc, where Sri Lanka is 17pc, India 19pc, China 21pc and Turkey 33pc. Before I left the government, there was a tax plan in place, which needs to be implemented. It will require a strong political will.....

Hopewins said...

Dr. Haq,

Here is a good article from the Express Tribune on some possible reasons WHY Pakistan's Savings Rates are so LOW....

Quote: "...Distressingly, the equation does not end here. Eventually, low savings in the economy translate into low investments and thus higher reliance on foreign aid..."

While the ratios & trends are accurate, the specific World Bank numbers quoted in the article are a bit off, probably because the author is including net current transfers. Here are the RAW World Bank domestic savings numbers showing the same ratios & trends:

Pakistan: 9.4% of GDP in 2011

Bangladesh: 16.3% of GDP in 2011

Sri-Lanka: 24.5% of GDP in 2011

India: 30.3% of GDP in 2011

What do you think? Is the author right about the importance of domestic savings for stable future growth?

Please comment.

Thank you.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a piece in The Atlantic Cities on economic mobility in US and comparing it with Pakistan:

A 2007 study by the organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development combined a number of previous estimates and found income heritability to be greater in the United States than in Denmark, Australia, Norway, Finland, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Spain, and France. The United Kingdom, which had been far less mobile than the United States during the late nineteenth century, brought up the rear, but this time it was just a bit less mobile than the United States. Thanks to a 2012 recalculation by Miles Corak, an economist at the University of Ottawa, we can now add Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and Pakistan to the list of societies that are more mobile than the United States.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ET report on rise in worker remittances to developing world:

Developing countries are expected to receive $406 billion in remittances in 2012, which is 6.5% higher than the remittances they received in 2011, according to a recent World Bank report.

The World Bank projects that remittances to developing countries will grow by 7.9%, 10.1% and 10.7% in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively, to reach $534 billion in 2015.

While the international economic downturn has adversely affected remittance flows to Europe and some other regions, South Asia is expected to fare much better than previously estimated, the report says. Remittance flows to South Asia are expected to clock in at around $109 billion in 2012, up by 12.5% over 2011, it said.

According to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the country received remittances of $13.2 billion in fiscal 2012, which were 17.7% higher than the preceding fiscal year.

Similarly, in the first four months of the current fiscal year, remittances to Pakistan stood at $4.9 billion, higher by 15% compared to remittances received in the corresponding four-month period last fiscal year.

“Regions and countries with large numbers of migrants in oil-exporting countries continue to see robust growth in inward remittance flows, compared with those whose migrant workers are largely concentrated in the advanced economies, especially Western Europe,” the World Bank report says.

According to the Bureau of Emigration’s Assistant Director Farrukh Jamal, more than 80% of the manpower that Pakistan has exported resides in Saudi Arabia. “Almost 90% of recent emigrants from Pakistan currently work in the Middle East,” he told The Express Tribune in an interview two weeks ago.

The largest single-country chunk of remittances that Pakistan received in fiscal 2012 – amounting to $1.1 billion – was from Saudi Arabia. It was followed closely by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with $963.1 million remitted from the country in the same period. The United States ($795.3 million) was the third biggest source of remittances during fiscal 2012...

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Bloomberg story titled "Pakistan, Land of Entrepreneurs":

On a warm Sunday morning in November, Arif Habib leaves his posh home near the seafront in southern Karachi and drives across town in a silver Toyota Prado SUV. About half an hour later, he arrives to check up on his latest project: a 2,100-acre residential development at the northern tip of this city of 20 million. He hops out, shakes hands with young company call-center workers who are dressed for a cricket match, and joins them at the edge of the playing field for a traditional Pakistani breakfast of curried chickpeas and semolina pudding. After a quick tour of the construction site, he straps on his leg pads, grabs his bat, and heads onto the field. “The principles of cricket are very effective in business,” says Habib, 59. “The goal is to stay at the wicket, hit the right balls, leave the balls that don’t quite work, and keep an eye on the scoreboard. I feel that my childhood association with cricket has contributed to my success.”

Habib, who started as a stockbroker more than four decades ago, has expanded his Arif Habib Group into a 13-company business that has invested $2 billion in financial services, cement, fertilizer, and steel factories since 2004. His group and a clutch of others have become conglomerates of a kind that went out of fashion in the West but seem suited to the often chaotic conditions in Pakistan. Engro (ENGRO), a maker of fertilizer, has moved into packaged foods and coal mining. Billionaire Mian Muhammad Mansha, one of Pakistan’s richest men, is importing 2,500 milk cows from Australia to start a dairy business after running MCB Bank, Nishat Mills, and D.G. Khan Cement.

These companies have prospered in a country that, since joining the U.S. in the war on terror after Sept. 11, has lost more than 40,000 people to retaliatory bombings by the Taliban. Political violence in Karachi has killed 2,000 Pakistanis this year, and an energy crisis—power outages last as long as 18 hours a day—has led to social unrest. Foreign direct investment declined 24 percent to $244 million in the four months ended Oct. 31, according to the central bank.

At the same time, some 70 million Pakistanis—40 percent of the population—have become middle-class, says Sakib Sherani, chief executive of Macro Economic Insights, a research firm in Islamabad. A boom in agriculture and residential property, as well as jobs in hot sectors such as telecom and media, have helped Pakistanis prosper. “Just go to the malls and see the number of customers who are actually buying in upscale stores and that shows you how robust the demand is,” says Azfer Naseem, head of research for Elixir Securities in Karachi. “Despite the energy crisis, we have growth of 3 percent.”

Sherani of Macro Economic Insights estimates the middle class doubled in size between 2002 and 2012. “Those who understand the difference between the perception of Pakistan and the reality have made a killing,” Habib says. “Foreigners don’t come here, so the field is wide open.” The KSE100, the benchmark index of the Karachi Exchange, has risen elevenfold since mid-2001. Shares in the index are up 43 percent this year alone. Over the past decade, stocks have been buoyed by corporate earnings, which were bolstered in turn by rising consumer spending.
Today, Habib has 11,000 employees and annual revenue of 100 billion rupees. He plans to expand into commodities trading and warehousing. “I’ve created all my wealth in Pakistan and reinvested all of it here,” says Habib, who drives himself to his cricket matches and is never accompanied by security guards. In 1998, when Pakistan’s share index fell to a record low after the government tested nuclear weapons, Habib bought shares even though “people thought I was mad.”...

Hopewins said...

^^RH: "..the decade of 1990s, now appropriately remembered as the lost decade..."

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected Pakistan's economic growth at 3.25 percent in 2012-13, which it said is insufficient to achieve significant improvement in living standards and to absorb the rising labour force.

Real GDP growth over the past four years has averaged only about 3 per cent annually, and is projected to be about 3.25 per cent in 2012-13, insufficient to achieve significant improvement in living standards and to absorb the rising labour force," the IMF said in its report on Pakistan.

Noting that Pakistan's economy faces many challenges, the IMF said deep seated structural problems and weak macroeconomic policies have continued to sap the economy's vigour.

A key structural impediment to growth is the problems in the energy sector, which have resulted in widespread and unpredictable power outages, IMF said.

"Headline inflation has decelerated recently, but is likely to return to low double digits by the end of 2012-13.The external position has weakened substantially, as export growth turned negative in 2011-12 while imports grew," the IMF said. The financial account has also deteriorated, reflecting weak financial inflows and debt repayments. This has led to a decline in the State Bank of Pakistan's (SBP) foreign exchange reserves to under USD 10 billion in October 2012, below adequate levels, it said.

Dr. Haq,

What do you think are the chances of another LOST DECADE?

Here are the data for the last one and the data for the one that could potentially be upon us.

(Lost Decade)

(Global Boom)

(Potential Lost Decade?)
FY13......3.7%......3.1% (IMF)
After 6-YEARS CAGR is at 3.1%

What do you think? If we get four more years of the current situation, do you feel we have have another one?

Thank you.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are a few excerpts of State Bank Governor Yasin Anwar's interview with Dawn:

Q. What is the outlook for inflation?

A. As you very well know, inflation has declined considerably over the past five to six months; from 12.3 per cent in May 2012 to 7.7 per cent in October 2012. Also, the pace of decline in inflation has been faster than our earlier estimates. Therefore, we are quite confident that inflation may remain below the target of 9.5 per cent for FY13. We discussed this assessment in the monetary policy statement of October 2012 as well. Currently, we are in the process of updating our inflation outlook in the light of latest developments. All I can say is that the likelihood of meeting the inflation target for FY13 remains quite high.

Q. Without additional foreign inflows, and IMF repayments, is the BOP situation under control?

A. In the first four months of FY13, balance of payment position has shown significant improvement over the last year.

Particularly, the external current account balance has turned into a surplus; $258 million, against a deficit of $1.7 billion in the corresponding period of last year. In the remaining months of FY13, we are expecting a deficit in the external current account.

However, this would remain moderate compared to both international standards and Pakistan’s own economic history.

The developments that need to be monitored carefully are those related to financial inflows. For the overall health of balance of payments, it is important that all the budgeted financial flows materialise. In case of shortfall or delays, the BOP may experience some stress, but, at this point in time, we expect the position to remain manageable during FY13. We do not foresee any difficulty in the repayment of IMF loans and other debt obligations that have already been factored in.

Q. Why, then, is the rupee constantly under pressure?

A. Like in most emerging economies, the day-to-day value of the currency in Pakistan is essentially determined by market forces of demand and supply of foreign exchange. While export receipts, remittances and financial inflows are the main sources of supply of foreign exchange; import payments, financial outflows and debt repayments influence the demand. The overall macroeconomic conditions such as inflation relative to trading partners and other factors like perceptions of economic stability also influence the behaviour of participants in the foreign exchange market. The SBP does not target any specific level of exchange rate. Our interventions in the foreign exchange market are essentially geared towards dealing with excessive volatility to ensure smooth functioning of the market.

As I have mentioned earlier, the trade balance together with remittances is in surplus during the first four months of FY13. It is the weak financial inflows that are creating some pressure in the foreign exchange market. As the budgeted financial inflows are realized in the coming months, the situation would become more manageable.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are a couple of reports on FDI in Pakistan.

First, a News report on FDI decline:

The World Bank has revealed that foreign investment in Pakistan has declined by $4.13 billion during the four years of the present government. This was revealed in a fresh report — ‘World Investment and Political Risk’ — of the World Bank.

The report said that there was a continuous trend of decrease in foreign investment in Pakistan and a conspicuous decline was recorded in the tenure of the present government. It noted that $4.13 billion investment decrease has been recorded from 2008 to 2011.

The report said that $5.44 billion foreign investment was made in 2008 in Pakistan which is continuously falling, and had reduced to only $1.31 billion in 2011. According to the report, $5.59 billion foreign investment was made in Pakistan which is the biggest ever investment made in the country.

In 2009, the investment reduced to $2.34 billion which further reduced to $2.02 billion in 2010. The report said that the foreign investment had also declined in India, however, there is an upward trend now.

Second, a Business Recorder report on FDI over the last decade:

Pakistan had attracted net Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows of US$ 25.66 billion during the last ten-year.

"Oil and gas, financial business,trade,construction,power,and communications were the major sectors attracting investment", Board of Investment (BOI) sources told APP.

The sources added that the USA,UK,UAE,Hong Kong,Switzerland, germany, Netherlands, Norway,Saudi Arabia, Japan were the major investing partners in the country.

They further said that Pakistan during the financial year 2011-12 had also witnessed an FDI inflows of US $ 1.4 billion.

The said that foreign investment inflows increased 49.6 percent in total foreign investment during July-October 2012-13 as compared to the corresponding period while major FDI inflows in transport sector were $60.7 million in October 2012-13

They added that global economy liberalized during 1980s and the government encouraged private sector business initiatives and FDI and cross borders investment by multinational companies (MNCs) gathered momentum.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BR report on Pakistani central bank's strategy for strengthening financial services industry:

The Governor, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Yaseen Anwar, has outlined the Central Bank's 10-point banking strategy for the growth of the financial system in the country.

This strategy focuses on implementing a financial inclusion programme for underserved economic sectors of the country, to strengthen consumer protection through legislation and codes of conduct and strengthen competition and efficiency with greater transparency as well as to consolidate the banking sector's corporate governance and risk management practices.


He said the State Bank's constant monitoring of the banking sector's portfolio has meant that today our banks are profitable, extremely healthy and robust.

Yaseen Anwar said the World Bank, and renowned publications, the Financial Times and The Economist, have recognized the State Bank's role in promoting innovative solutions, especially in microfinance, to get more people into the banking sector.

SBP Governor said the State Bank regulates the economy as a whole by using monetary policy instruments, which are transmitted through the financial sector.

`The potency of our monetary policy instruments depends on how many people are actively using formal channels of borrowing and lending', he added.

The SBP chief said the State Bank's monetary policy tools have become much more potent since the introduction of secondary markets that trade government securities, and the removal of distortions from within these markets.

Explaining as to how monetary policy works in Pakistan, Yaseen Anwar said that monetary policy tools target the interest rate.

`It's important to understand just how they do that. Different central banks use different tactics, but at the State Bank, we intervene primarily in the overnight interbank market.

This is the market where interest rates on loans that banks make to each other for a day. The central bank itself is a player in this market and steps in to either provide funds in times of need or drain money in times of excess. By doing that it manages the overnight rate to keep it within a certain band.

The monetary policy rate that is announced in the press indicates the ceiling of this band. The overnight rate is linked to all other interest rates in the market. By changing the ceiling of the band, which the overnight rate fluctuates in, the central bank is able to influence interest rates', he added.

The SBP Governor pointed out Pakistan has never undergone a bout of hyperinflation but the past few years have seen higher than average inflation, the effects of which every individual has felt.

Inflation has reduced markedly in the past few months, he said and added: `It was because of this that the Bank decided to reduce its interest rate as well. The benchmark rate now stands at 9.5 percent.

We also expect that average inflation for the year will remain below 9.5 percent. A part of the reduction in inflation may be attributed to State Bank's active monetary management policies'.

He said the State Bank also ensures that the money market is never short of, or in excess of funds, and this means that monetary policy signals are transmitted efficiently.

He recalled: `Our equity market has been a consistent feature in Asia's best performing stock markets. Since we established a secondary market that can buy and sell government debt, our financial markets have become a lot more agile and responsive to policy changes. That's actually been one of the most important outcomes of the financial sector's reformation'.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from "The Proudest Day: India's Long Road to Independence" by Anthony Read:

The affair of the printing press highlighted the biggest problem being faced by Pakistan. India, which had finally been recognized by the British government as the successor state on 17 June after further pressure from Mountbatten, would simply take over a going concern with everything in place. Pakistan, on the other hand, would be starting from scratch without any established administration, without armed forces, without records, without equipment or military stores.

As early as 9 May, during his stay in Simla with Nehru, Mountbatten had admitted the problem. "What are we doing?" he had asked then. "Administratively, it's the difference between putting up a permanent building, a nissen hut, or a tent. As far as Pakistan is concerned, we are putting up a tent".

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting Op Ed by Mazur Ejaz in Friday Times:

The condition of an economy is often confused with the financial health of its government. Pakistan's economy is perceived to be in a deep hole because of its near-bankrupt fiscal conditions. Similarly, America's inability to settle on a national budget is taken to be an indicator of the collapse of the US Empire.

In some ways, the condition of the economy and the financial health of the government are separate matters. Major stock market indexes at Karachi Stock Exchange and the Wall Street are at their highest level, but both governments are facing serious financial problems. Most of the countries around the world are facing similar dichotomous situations. So how does one solve the riddle of the corporate sector making record profits while governments around the world are in serious financial jeopardy?

The phenomenon needs to be analyzed at grass-roots level. A shopkeeper from my village comes to mind. He told me that he sells PTCL internet cards grossing about Rs 9,000 every day. There are several other such shops in the village. That means that just in one village, the total sale of PTCL internet cards is up to 50,000 rupees. This consumer item was not present five years ago, which means hundreds of computers have been bought in the village recently. Furthermore, if such luxury products are making such huge profits for village shops, traders throughout the country must be making much larger profits selling essentials every day. One of the indicators of booming business in our village is that the United Bank branch in the village is doing very well, according to its manager.

There are thousands of such villages in the country, and that gives one an idea of the mammoth growth of rural markets. Such an undocumented economy is not even factored in estimating the economic growth of the country. From these supposedly marginal markets, one can extrapolate the profits of the corporate sector in towns and cities.

It may be astounding for some that Pakistan's banking sector is considered fourth in profitability in the entire world. Producers of other major industrial and agricultural products are also making huge profits. Cement, fertilizer, automobile, construction and telecommunication industries are doing extremely well. Other than the textile industry, which has been hit by power shortages, there is hardly any manufacturer or importer/exporter of any kind of goods who is not making money. The stock markets look at the profits of these industries and price them accordingly. Therefore the claims of Pakistan's economic growth are not a fairy tale. The evidence is out there in the market.

The government is also like a large corporation whose income depends mainly on tax revenue. Most of the goods and services (such as roads, defense, education and health) provided by the government are public goods which are not priced directly. The government has to price its public goods through direct taxes on income and sales, or indirectly. Following a certain brand of capitalism, countries like Pakistan and the US are not collecting enough taxes to cover the cost of public goods. They have failed mainly in collecting direct taxes on income. While Pakistan cannot implement an appropriate tax collection mechanism because of corruption, the US has leaned towards favoring high income groups and ended up in a jam. The net result is the same: the rich are getting richer, appropriating most of the new wealth generated....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's how PPP boasts of its record of the last 5 years, as reported by PakistanToday:

The Pakistan People’s Party on Saturday released a 29-point report on its five year performance, highlighting major achievements during the period.
It makes special mention of the constitutional reforms, particularly the 18th, 19th and 20th amendments which provided provincial autonomy, transfer of presidential powers to parliament, smooth installation of caretaker governments and striking down of president’s power to dissolve the assemblies.
Munir Ahmad Khan, the PPP in-charge policy and planning cell, presented the report before the media at a press conference. He said that credit goes to the PPP for ensuring independence granted to the Election Commission of Pakistan.
Khan also came up with a list of important decisions and steps taken by the PPP government to mitigate sufferings of the people despite terrorism in the country.
In this regard, he mentioned a record increase in wheat production, increase in salaries of govt officials up to 158 percent, disbursement of Rs 70 billion among 7.5 million deserving families through the Benazir Income Support Programmed and financial help to 135,000 deserving people by Pakistan Baitul Maal.
On steps taken by the government for economic revival, Khan cited the Pak-Iran agreement on the gas pipeline, agreement with China on Gwadar Port, increase in foreign exchange reserves from $6 billion in 2008 to $16 billion in 2013, increase in export from $18 billion in 2008 to $29 billion in 2012, boost in stock market from 5,220 points in 2008 to 18,185 points in 2013 and reduction in interest rate from 17 percent in 2008 to 9 percent in 2013.
He believed that these measures would help improve the economy and ameliorate the people.
Talking about the measures taken to increase production of electricity, the PPP leader told reporters that the PPP-led government added 3,600MW of electricity to the system besides initiating additional work on Mangla and Tarbela dams for increase of 4,500MW in the system.
The previous government, he added, also got $3.5 billion for Basha Dam, initiated Neelum-Jhelum, Gomal and Satpara dams and Thar Coal project to get electricity from coal besides Jamphar project to get electricity out of air.
He said further the PPP government also reinstated thousands of government servants who were dismissed during the last 13 years and also regularised thousands of contract employees.
Among steps taken by the government for welfare of the masses, Munir Khan listed resumption of trade union activities, distribution of shares among 500,000 industrial workers, cheep tractors to farmers through Benazir Tractor Scheme, increase rural economy from 50 billion in 2008 to 800 billion rupees in 2013.
He said Faisalabad-Multan Motorway and construction of thousands of kilometres of roads.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan's GDP as percentage of world GDP remained flat 0.58% from 1990 to 2000, and then increased to 0.63% in 2010, according to Global Finance website.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a link to good overview of Pak economic indicators from Economic Survey of Pakistan 2012-13:

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Daily Times review of "Pakistan: Moving Economy Forward":

Ultimately the economic or material base of a society determines its politics and other societal forms and manifestations. Most certainly this adage is as true today as it was in the past, and nobody put it better than Bulleh Shah:

Panj rukan Islam de te cheyaan tukk/Cheyaan jai na hovey te panje jaande mukk.

(Islam comprises five pillars of faith, but the sixth is food/If the sixth is not available the five pillars crumble.)

Two of Pakistan’s senior most economists, Rashid Amjad and Shahid Javed Burki, have in cooperation with a galaxy of respected experts — Parvez Hasan, Afia Malik, Hamna Ahmed, Naved Hamid, Mahreen Mahmud, Hafiz A Pasha, Aisha Ghaus-Pasha, Ehtisham Ahmad, Shahid Amjad Chaudhry, Ishrat Husain, Khalil Hamdani, M Irfan, G M Arif, Muhammad Imran, Sara Hayat, Eric Manes, Azam Chaudhry, Theresa Chaudhry, Muhammad Haseeb, Uzma Afzal, Akmal Hussain and Khalid Ikram — taken up cudgels on behalf of the citizens of Pakistan for a programme of change and transformation. This if pursued with sincerity and discipline can help Pakistan achieve the necessary break with the sordid past of missed opportunities and spoilt chances of the last 66 years. No doubt Pakistan is in dire straits at present.

The book under review is a comprehensive, all-round evaluation of the Pakistani economy. It identifies its weaknesses and bottlenecks as well as proposes practical solutions imperative for sustainable recovery. The clarion call is for fundamental structural change. I have yet to see something comparable in terms of quality scholarship assembled in a brief that favours the primacy of economics over vain ideological state building.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that even in the worst of circumstances the Pakistani economy had been growing at 5.2 percent annually during 1960-2010. The situation is bad since then but there are some impressive developments. Pakistan is performing better than even Bangladesh when it comes to microfinance while private initiative is helping education go forward significantly.

However, investment has fallen dismally. Therefore, the investment climate and the constraints imposed by a woefully bad energy crisis have to be tackled with determination in order to attract foreign and domestic investment. The article on energy is rigorous and informative, but the need to tap alternative renewable energy sources is not sufficiently emphasised. Pakistan should be ideally suitable for solar energy technology. Needless to say, proverbial corruption and mismanagement of our meagre resources are a great shame. Defence expenditure has to be reduced. It is a huge drain on national resources. A very strong emphasis is laid by the experts on the rule of law, transparency and institution building. Equally, a very powerful argument is developed in favour of inclusive growth by Akmal Hussain.

Attention is also given to the menace of unbridled population growth. Strong emphasis on an effective taxation policy is also made. Regional disparities need to be addressed in the light of the 18th Constitutional Amendment, which presupposes a greater role of provincial economic managers, argues Khalid Ikram. Shahid Amjad Chaudhry highlights the urgent need to tackle the issue of water scarcity and replenish the Indus Water Irrigation System, the “heartthrob of the Pakistan economy”. This is a most timely intervention indeed....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a WSJ story on Pakistan's return to bond market:

Pakistan is returning to the international bond markets for the first time in six years, joining a host of other emerging market governments and companies who are selling debt while borrowing costs remain low.

Pakistan's offering, expected to be up to $1 billion, comes as money flows back to Asia in search of higher yields amid new expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will now keep in place for the time being the aggressive stimulus measures that has pumped the world full of cash.

Other countries such as Brazil, Kenya and Honduras are also raising cash to fund infrastructure projects and alleviate heavy debt burdens.

Interest in emerging markets, including their sovereign debt, has been renewed in the past couple of months as the Fed has held off starting to wind down its bond-buying program, said Mr. Rajeev DeMello, head of Asia fixed income in Singapore at Schroders Investment Management, which manages $388 billion globally.

Mr. DeMello said Schroders holds Pakistani bonds and expects the new debt to attract investors, given that it will offer a high yield and that the country's bonds are not highly correlated to those of other markets in the region.

During the summer selloff in global emerging markets, prompted by expectations that the Fed would soon begin withdrawing its stimulus program, Pakistani bonds held up relatively well because most holders are large institutional investors with longer-term outlooks, Mr. DeMello said.

With global interest rates still low and emerging market investors venturing back into Asia, the country is planning to issue debt due in five to 10 years.

Bond yields throughout Asia have fallen over the last few weeks as investors have jumped back in. The yields on government bonds in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have all fallen since early September.

Pakistan's five-year yield is at 12.3%.

"We have started the process [of the bond sale] and are waiting for the appointment of a lead adviser who will take the process forward," said Shafqat Jalil, a finance ministry spokesman.

Still, Pakistan isn't without its problems. Though its economy is humming, its finances are weak, with revenues from taxes floundering and foreign-exchange reserves falling 34% since October last year. Pakistan is already heavily in debt, with its financing needs one of the highest in emerging markets, according to the International Monetary Fund. Rating firm Moody's MCO +1.08% downgraded the country's government bonds to junk in July last year.

The Pakistani government is raising cash to plug its dwindling foreign-exchange reserves, which are symptomatic of the country's economic woes and trade imbalance.

The government's financial history hasn't been without blemishes, either. It last defaulted on debt in 1999 as it struggled with a balance-of-payments crisis aggravated by international sanctions and a military coup.

Pakistan last issued debt in 2007, with $750 million of 10-year bonds intended for general government spending and budget management. At the time, investors snapped up the bond with bids worth seven times the amount of debt on offer.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an AOL piece on Pakistan's economy in 2050:

Recently, Jim O'Neill, one of the most renowned British economist predicted that Pakistan could become world's 18th largest economy by 2050 and its per capita income will cross the 20,500 dollars mark with its GDP around US$ 3.33 trillion in 2050. This means that Pakistan's economy will grow 15 times more than what it stands today within the next 35 years.

Jim became famous for analyzing and coining the world's most powerful economies in a single term, 'BRIC' meaning Brazil, Russia, India and China in 2001. He recently developed another term, 'MINT', meaning Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey and has projected them to be coming up as strong economies in the coming decades.

Currently, Pakistan is ranked the 44th largest economy of the world with GDP of US$ 225.14 billion. If Jim O'Neill's predictions turn out to be true, Pakistan's economically sound conditions can be fruitful for the country's development. Not just this but it can also lead to amicable living conditions for its people and can lead to smooth social atmosphere there.

Other than the 2050 predictions, we should not forget about the serious economic challenges being faced by Pakistan currently. International Monetary Fund signed a financial assistance of USD 6.7 billion to save the country from falling into the periphery of an economic collapse back in September 2013. The energy sector is a cause of severe poverty and growing labour force. Pakistan has failed to develop a variegated economy. Pakistan will need to boost up its confidence in order to attract FDIs, said IMF.

Terrorism is another reason behind the slower economy of Pakistan. It has damaged the image and the economy of Pakistan on numerous levels. Normal business and tasks require more time and extra security due to the challenge of terrorism. Terrorism leads Pakistan to have an extra expenditure on humanitarian aid, law and order and various other fiscal, economic, cultural and social charges.

Pakistan's economic circumstances have different root causes and solutions to those causes are demanding but a lot has changed over the years. Since 2007, the domestic consumer demand has been rising. Many multinational corporations have brilliantly performed in Pakistan. The Pakistani markets have proven to hold better potential than the African markets. It has also been said that if the job crisis in Pakistan is resolved, its economy will outdo the economies of many other countries.

"It would be a great achievement for Pakistan if Jim's predictions turn out to be true. Pakistan will then be entering into the positive spheres of world economics. This will be beneficial for the country," said Sukriti, a student of English Honors who holds high interests in economical issues of the world.

"If Pakistan is able to achieve the mark of GDP US$ 3.33 trillion, then nothing like it. It will be a great achievement not just for Pakistan but also for the neighboring countries. The economical ties will bolster and not just Pakistan but all the surrounding countries will flourish with it," said Arushi, a student of Jesus and Mary College.

Pakistan's growing economy will be a big challenge for the other economies of the world.

Max said...

what are the all unemployment strategies in Pakistan from starting. please tell me every strategy in shortly- in 2 or 3 sentences.

advocate lali said...

can any one please tell me about some good books regarding initial challenges that Pakistan faced in 1947? please i need for my thesis and unable to find.

Riaz Haq said...

GDP Growth Rate in Pakistan averaged 4.91 percent from 1952 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 10.22 percent in 1954 and a record low of -1.80 percent in 1952.

GDP Annual Growth Rate in India averaged 6.13 percent from 1951 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 11.40 percent in the first quarter of 2010 and a record low of -5.20 percent in the fourth quarter of 1979.

The difference between India's 6.13% and Pakistan's 4.91% is 1.22% over 1951 to 2017.

India also has significantly higher domestic savings rates and foreign investment (FDI) rates than Pakistan that more than make up for larger illicit outflows.

A State Bank of Pakistan report explains it as below:

"National savings (in Pakistan) as percent of GDP were around 10 percent during 1960s, which increased to above 15 percent in 2000s, but declined afterward. Pakistan’s saving rate also compares unfavorably with that in neighboring countries: last five years average saving rate in India was 31.9 percent, Bangladesh 29.7 percent, and Sri Lanka 24.5 percent..... Similarly, domestic savings (measured as national savings less net factor income from abroad) also declined from about 15 percent of GDP in 2000s, to less than 9 percent in recent years. Domestic savings are imperative for sustainable growth, because inflow of income from abroad (remittances and other factor income) is uncertain due to cyclical movements in world economies, exchange rates, and external shocks".

Riaz Haq said...

Some questions about public policymaking in Pakistan
By Shahid Javed Burki

Serious public policy work was put on track by president Ayub Khan soon after he took over the country in October 1958. He developed the Planning Commission into a well-endowed policymaking institution. Told that Pakistan did not have the skills that were needed to staff such an institution, he turned to the United States for help. That came in the form of advisers mostly from the Harvard Development Service who were appointed in the Planning Commission in Karachi and in the Planning and Development Departments in East and West Pakistan.

When Ayub Khan surrendered his office in 1969, the Planning Commission began to wither. A series of blows were delivered to the planning process by the government headed by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who ably led Pakistan to recover from the loss of East Pakistan in December 1971 but destroyed much of what Ayub Khan had done for the country. Bhutto, an arrogant man, had much greater confidence in his ability to develop the country on his own and bring about social change than base his moves on institutional advice. He had no use for the Planning Commission.


What follows is a brief discussions relating to some of the questions asked above. Taking all of them in detail would take up a more than one newspaper article.

One, our leaders must recognise that a negative narrative prevails about Pakistan in the foreign press. Whenever a story appears about Pakistan in the western media, its content and tone are negative. This situation can only be remedied if the current leadership comes forward and presents to the world a believable plan of action that would restore people’s confidence in their future as well the future of their country. As economists emphasise all the time, confidence is an important driver of growth, confidence leads to increase in domestic and as well as foreign investment.

Two, there is an urgent need to strength the Federal Board of Revenue. Those who don’t pay taxes or pay only nominal amounts must be made to fear the revenue collector. It is that fear that has made the Internal Revenue Service the most feared part of the United States government. In America, April 15, the day taxes are due, is by far the most important day on the calendar.

Third, we need to focus on three sectors as the future determinants of economic growth and social change: they are high value-added agriculture, small- and medium-scale industries and modern services. Development of the human resource would be an important part of this strategy. CPEC could play an important part in this endeavour.

Fourth, our policymakers need to recognise that Pakistan is no longer a rural place but an urban country. No single urban policy would serve the purpose. We will need separate policies for the metropolitan areas, peripheral areas of large cites, medium-sized cities and small towns.

Fifth, the government must get closer to the people and this requires the formation of a multi-tiered system of local government on the lines of Ayub Khan’s system of ‘basic democracies’.

And sixth, working with Afghanistan, we should use the local system of government to bring economic and social development to these areas. It is only then that we will be able to prevent the tribal youth from being attracted to extremist causes.

Riaz Haq said...

How to Fix Pakistan’s Crashing Economy
To change course, the country’s leaders must take on the moneyed elite and religious extremism.

By Atif Mian
Mr. Mian is an economics professor at Princeton

It wasn’t always so. During the 1980s, in per capita terms Pakistan was richer than India, China and Bangladesh by 15, 38 and 46 percent. Today Pakistan is the poorest. Its most recent gross domestic product growth estimate was only 3.3 percent, barely sufficient to keep pace with population growth.


Pakistan’s leadership must muster the courage to take on two primary forces of the status quo that hold the country back. First, the moneyed elite who tip the scales of markets in their favor through unfair business practices, tax evasion and preferential access to power. They use their privilege to grab the fruits of other people’s labor rather than create something of value through their own enterprise.

The second force inhibiting Pakistan’s progress is religious extremism. Decades of patronage by successive military and civilian governments for promoters of religious hate has created a culture of institutionalized intolerance. The result has been devastating for society. Thousands have been killed, communities have been ripped apart and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced or forced to flee the country altogether. It is no wonder then that few want to invest in an environment afflicted with violence and intolerance. Many whose talents are sorely needed in Pakistan are forced to flee the country because of extremism.

The combined effect of extremism and an unproductive rent-seeking elite is that Pakistan has one of the lowest investment rates in the world. Pakistan invests only 15 percent of its output compared with 30 percent for the rest of South Asia. This has led to diminished productivity. Pakistan’s total volume of exports has not risen since 2005. It has become a nation of consumers with limited capacity to produce and innovate. Last year, the country imported more than two times as much as it exported.


Reversing those trends requires a courageous commitment to fight the entrenched elements and extremists. Consider the unproductive moneyed class which instead of investing in real businesses buys urban land and sits on it. This is an idle activity that adds nothing to the country’s output and contributes directly to Pakistan’s low investment rate. The value of land keeps rising, not because of any effort by the landowners but because of an urbanizing population.

The correct policy response to discourage such activity would be to tax the value of land appropriately. This would dissuade the rich from hoarding land and instead incentivize them to invest in real businesses. Land would then be available for more productive uses and at cheaper prices. Moreover, the revenue generated from land taxes could fund much-needed urban infrastructure.

While instituting a land tax addresses multiple problems in a single strike, carrying through with the policy requires courage as a large percentage of urban land is held by the powerful elite. Pakistan’s leadership must develop the courage to put the interests of the collective above those of the privileged few.

Similar challenges exist in other parts of the economy. For instance, sugar cane, which is one of the most water-intensive crops, is grown on nearly 2.5 million acres in Pakistan. This makes no economic sense for a country with a very serious water shortage. Rationalizing agriculture toward more efficient farming choices requires that the government take on the landed aristocracy by removing subsidies and charging for excessive water use.

Riaz Haq said...

On economic growth, there is much we can learn from our past and from Pakistan
The 73 years of post-Independence India has generated a lot of evidence across different political-economic regimes. This period has also provided us with the contrasting experiences of India and Pakistan, two countries that share history, geography and socio-cultural mores.

To put India’s economic record in perspective, it is useful to compare with Pakistan. In 1950, Pakistan’s per person GDP was US$1268, which was almost 50 per cent greater than India that year. However, in the backdrop of sustained political uncertainty and upheaval, Pakistan stagnated throughout the 1950s while a politically stable India grew. As a result, by 1960, India had almost caught up with Pakistan in per capita GDP terms with the per capita income gap having shrunk to 15 per cent. Unfortunately, from 1964, India went into two decades of economic stagnation while Pakistan, under the military rule of Ayub Khan, opened up to foreign capital which funded a period of rapid industrialisation and economic growth, albeit at the cost of worsening inequality. By 1984, Pakistan’s per capita income was more than double that of India’s.