ISLAMABAD: Contrary to the government's claim about revival of economy, a consumer confidence survey shows a bleak performance where inflation, unemployment, increasing poverty and burden of taxes are among the top worrying issues.
91 percent respondents were not comfortable about purchasing a car or home in December 2019, as this number stood at 90 percent earlier in August 2019.
There were four major concerns/worrying aspects for respondents, as 81 percent considered increasing inflation as major concern, 79 percent found unemployment, 56 percent increasing poverty and 55 percent burden of taxes as major worrying issues in line with results of survey undertaken in December 2019.
About 79 percent respondents replied that the country was heading towards a wrong direction so there was no hope of any improvement in their lives over the next six months.
IPSOS, a global market research firm, conducted the survey in Pakistan for December 2019 from both rural and urban population with same sample size undertaken in August 2019 and itsManaging Director Abdul Sattar Babar shared the startling findings of the survey with the media by stating that there were 31 percent respondents who had witnessed losing of job by themselves, their relatives or someone of their acquaintances in last one year mainly because of worst economic conditions.
There are 30 percent individual respondents who considered unemployment as the top worrying issue in Pakistan, then 29 percent considered higher inflation, 11 percent burden of taxes and 6 percent rising poverty.
This indicates that 76 percent worrying issues were related to worst economic situation. Interestingly, contrary to the perception, only 2 percent respondents considered corruption, bribery and nepotism as the major worrying issue in Pakistan. Same thing applied to the case of media, as only 2 percent respondents found that decreasing freedom of speech and censorship was a major issue.
Only 4 percent and 3 percent respondents considered terrorism and increasing prices of electricity as major issues. Only 2 percent considered power load shedding as major issue.
It has changed altogether as few years back such survey showed that load shedding was the major issue before witnessing improvement with installation of new power plants.
The combined findings of the survey for December and August 2019 showed that 81 percent considered increasing inflation as number one issue, while 79 percent found unemployment as the second major issue.
When the survey asked the respondents whether they were satisfied or unsatisfied with the way things were going in Pakistan, only 4 percent said they were very satisfied, while 40 percent were very dissatisfied.
When asked about current economic situation, only 3 percent found the situation very satisfactory but 40 percent were very dissatisfied.
Most alarmingly, 79 percent respondents found that the country was heading towards a wrong direction over next six months, while only 21 percent said the 6 month future direction was on the right path.
The survey found that the average global consumer index stood at 48.5 while in Pakistan it was on much lower side and clinched 32.8 index indicating that it was almost 16 indices lower than global average.
In comparison with BRICS countries such as Brazil, Russia, India, Turkey, China, Pakistan's performance remained much lower on the current economic index, expectation index, investment index and jobs index.
The more worrying aspect of the survey showed that the results of Pakistan compared with different regions including Asia Pacific, Middle East/North Africa, G-7 countries and BRICS, Pakistan’s performance was on much lower side and stood at the lowest ebb among all global and regional economies.
Pakistan’s national index stood at 32.8 while global average was 48.5, Asia Pacific 52, Middle East/North Africa 50.3, G7 48.4 and BRICS 51.6, indicating that Pakistan was at the bottom among all emerging and regional economies of the globe.