Wednesday August 17, 2022

Incomes in India, BD far higher than Pakistan

November 04, 2021

LAHORE: During the course of his televised address on Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the prices of petrol, edible oil, ghee, flour and pulses, etc, in Pakistan were lower as compared to India and Bangladesh, which is true. But he perhaps forgot to mention that while the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in his country was far less than the countries he named, the inflation figures were also a lot higher in the state he was heading than the regional nations he referred to.

The GDP per capita or the economic output of a Pakistani citizen rests at around US$1,543 (equivalent to Pak Rs202,980) per annum, while it stands at $2,191 (Pak Rs372,470) for India and $2,554 (Pak Rs434,180) for Bangladesh, if one takes the Rupee-Dollar parity at Rs170.

Similarly, the inflation or the rate of increase in prices is 'officially' nine per cent in Pakistan, it is 4.35 per cent in India and 5.56 per cent in Bangladesh, once deemed a country haunted by abject poverty. The statistics cited above thus mean that a major chunk of 220 million Pakistanis is currently witnessing a double blow; dismal income levels and ever-soaring tariff of most essential kitchen items.

The Pakistani premier did dish out Rs120 billion subsidy programme for 20 million eligible families or his 130 million compatriots, who would now be able to purchase ghee, flour and pulses at 30 percent lower prices for the next six months. Fair enough!

But now, let us look at the industrial performance of Pakistan and compare it with the figures in India and Bangladesh: Pakistan has a nominal GDP of $296 billion; it is a whopping $3.05 trillion in India’s case and much healthier $409 billion for Bangladesh. (References: IMF, World Bank, CIA World Fact book, and archives of Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani media houses).

It is imperative to note that Pakistani exports are as low as $25.63 billion, as compared to US$291.8 billion in India’s case and $37.88 billion when it comes to Bangladesh. Now let us have a look at the imports in these three countries: Pakistan ($56.325 billion), India (US$394.43 billion) and Bangladesh ($60.68 billion).

So, far healthier nominal GDPs, good incomes per capita, satisfactory inflation figures and relatively stable export/import statistics in India and Bangladesh can alone paint a fairly true economic picture of these two nations under review and help us all gauge the prosperity levels of their citizens as compared to Pakistan and its residents languishing under the burden of ever-surging tariffs of vital kitchen items and their insufficient incomes.