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National

November 24, 2017
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Global media, experts praise Dar’s work to uplift Pak economy

National

November 24, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Embattled Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar who has almost bowed out with the leave application has left a strong legacy with marked improvement in economic indicators, according to international media and experts.
Despite criticism on Dar from opposition parties and some local media houses, credible global financial institutions, economic experts and reputed foreign media houses have praised improvement in Pakistan’s economy calling it the most underrated in the world’s emerging economies.
Dar, who is facing multiple corruption cases in the NAB courts and battling ailment in a London hospital, has been relieved of his duties by the prime minister after the politician requested leave for three months.
Some opposition politicians and media anchors took the opportunity to criticise Dar for the rising Pakistan’s debt this year but only a few remember his achievements since he assumed charge of the Finance Ministry in June 2013.
Under Dar, Pakistan’s credit rating has remained stable or improved. International credit rating agencies, Moody, Fitch and Standard & Poor (S&P) rate Pakistan as B3 (stable), B (stable) and B (stable), respectively. The recent most update from S&P dated October 30, 2017 stated that S&P does not expect Pakistan’s external and fiscal situation to deteriorate materially from current levels and that Pakistan’s economic prospects remain favourable.
US expert Michael Kugelman who is Deputy Director Asia Program at The Wilson Center credited Ishaq Dar for overseeing Pakistan’s economic success story.
“The man who has overseen one of #Pakistan's recent success stories-economic progress-has resigned. Or...maybe not,” Kugelman tweeted while commenting on unconfirmed reports of Dar’s ouster on November 18.
According to a Senior Chinese economic journalist, Ishaq Dar must be appreciated for making Pakistan one of the first countries to join Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a

multilateral development Bank developed by China on the pattern of the World Bank. AIIB is co-financing a 64-kilometre-long stretch of the M4 motorway that will connect Shorkot to Khanewal in the Punjab.
According to foreign financial media houses, the major factors of the economic boom and growth in Pakistan under Dar remained the construction activity, strengthened private sector credit growth and Chinese-led investment in the name of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Until last year, the Karachi Stock Exchange had been termed one of the best performers in the Asian Stock Market since 2013. The international media reported that with a fast-improving security, a dynamic Pakistan has the potential to become a global turnaround success story as the country’s GDP growth accelerated to almost 5 percent, from an average of about 3 percent in the last five years.
Earlier this year, two reputed media houses including ‘Bloomberg’ has described Pakistan’s economy’s boost as a pleasant surprise for the world. According to an article published in Bloomberg on February 6, 2017, “Gross-domestic-product growth has hovered in the range of 4 percent and now may be reaching 5 percent.”
That’s not going to rival recent Chinese performance, but it is enough to put the economy on a fairly positive path. Since 2002, the rate of poverty has fallen by half, and over the past three years the rate of terrorist deaths has declined by two-third. It’s now the case that 47 percent of Pakistani households own a washing machine, up from 13 percent in 1991, and retail is booming more generally”.
On February 7, 2017, Business Insider ranked world’s top 32 economies in 2030 and ranked Pakistan in top 20 world economies in next 13 years. PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the world's largest professional-services firms, just released its predictions for the most powerful economies in the world by 2030.
The report, titled "The long view: how will the global economic order change by 2050?" ranked 32 countries by their projected global gross domestic product by purchasing power parity. Similarly, the Bloomberg in its report published on October 3, 2016 stated that even with limited progress on reforms, Pakistan’s gross domestic product growth accelerated to almost 5 percent, from an average of about 3 percent in the five years through 2013, supported by buoyant construction activity, strengthened private sector credit growth and Chinese-led investment, according to the IMF. The rupee and Pakistan’s stocks have been among Asia’s best performers since 2013, boosted by the IMF program and MSCI Inc.’s June announcement it would include the nation’s equities in its emerging-markets index.
On February 10, 2016 World Bank President Jim Yong Kim visited Pakistan and said that Pakistan is now on the path of increased economic growth and prosperity. Mr Kim applauded the prudent economic policies of Pakistan government, saying that the country’s economic outlook had become stable which was the result of the efforts of its financial team. He said Pakistan had an opportunity to become more ambitious in reforming its economy and reducing poverty in the country. Similarly, the ‘Economist’ in May 2015 reported that Pakistan’s economy was doing even better than the economies of Canada and the USA.
“Forbes.com,” a renowned business magazine website in an article published on August 3, 2015 stressed that American policymakers and business leaders should be looking at Pakistan beyond the security lens.
According to the article published in Forbes, “Pakistan of today is similar to that of Colombia in the late 1990s. Back then, words like “drugs, gangs, and failed state” were freely associated with the Andean country. Today, Colombia has a free trade agreement with the United States, a stable 3.5 percent annual GDP growth, and security is vastly improved. Similarly, Western headlines on Pakistan today gloss over the progress on the security front, the increased political stability, and incremental progress on the economic front. In spite of this potential for Pakistan, it continues to suffer from a terrible country brand that has not caught up with realities on the ground.”
‘Bloomberg,’ in its report published on June 30, 2015 said that the construction boom had marked the nation’s emergence as a leading market after the government had succeeded in averting a balance-of-payment crisis with help from the International Monetary Fund.
“He (the than PM Nawaz Sharif) is boosting infrastructure spending as the $232 billion economy expands at the fastest pace since 2008 amid the cheapest borrowing costs in 42 years. Shrugging off sectarian violence, bombings, killings and kidnappings, the benchmark KSE-100 stock index has advanced about 16 percent in the past 12 months, featuring among the world’s top 10 performers,” the report had said.
Meanwhile, in one of its earlier reports of June 12, 2015, ‘Bloomberg’ revealed that Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Pakistan’s sovereign credit ratings for the first time since 2008, making a strong mention of the soaring Forex reserves and the state’s economic overhauling under an IMF programme.
The reputed London-based ‘Economist,’ in its May 2, 2015 edition wrote that Pakistan’s economy was doing even better than economies of Canada and America. The ‘Economist’ contended: “Pakistan’s economy is growing at over 4 percent when the whole Europe and Canada are below 3 percent. Terrorism incidents have dramatically gone down in the last year. Operations in Fata and Karachi and throughout Pakistan are producing fruit and the economic policies of the regime have put the economy back on track and economists and IMF are predicting that Pakistan’s economy would grow 4.7 percent next year.”
According to the ‘Economist,’ the key economic indicators in Pakistan’s economy include $17.7 billion Forex reserves, raised electricity tariffs and collection of some unpaid bills that have helped ease the cash burden on hard-pressed distribution companies, increase in tax receipts to broaden the base and cut exemptions, dispatch of over 150,000 tax notices to nonpayers, roping in more retailers into the indirect-tax net, bringing the budget deficit below 4 percent of GDP in 2015-16 from a peak of over 8 percent, an under-control inflation, creation of jobs in services sector, increase in sale of cement, lowering of interest rates twice this year only, a 22 percent upward trend in car sales, a projected saving a total of $12 billion in the next three years due to low oil prices and doubling of Pakistan’s stock market in dollar terms since the start of 2012 etc.
On December 20, 2016, ‘Wall Street Journal’ published a story that how Pakistan is planning to overcome the energy crisis. According to this report, “Pakistan’s economic growth has risen to almost 5 percent annually under Mr Sharif and his government set a 7 percent target for the years ahead. That, his government hopes, will boost the moribund private sector, reduce unemployment and provide youth with more alternatives to extremism”.

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