Pakistan’s economy would perform even worse than what previous estimates had warned about, citing the Covid-19 fallout, according to the World Bank estimates. Pakistan also faces a looming oil shortage crisis.
The country’s economy was likely to go into the red this fiscal year and would be unable to recover even next year. It forecast a negative GDP growth of -2.6pc for the current fiscal year (2019-20) and -0.2pc during the next (20-21), according to the World Bank.
“Pakistan (-2.6pc in FY2019/20) and Afghanistan (-5.5pc in 2020) are both projected to experience contractions as mitigation measures are anticipated to weigh heavily on private consumption. Key labor-intensive export sectors are expected to contract sharply and recover only slowly”, the Bank said in its report.
This would be an even poorer performance when seen on the basis of World Bank’s April 12 forecast of -2.2pc and -1.3pc growth and an eventual recovery to 0.9pc.
The “output is expected to contract sharply in the fourth quarter of FY20, bringing the overall growth to -1.3pc”, the World Bank had said on April 12.
This comes in contrast to recent official estimates by authorities that put GDP going down by -0.4pc during the current year and returning to 2.3pc growth during the next fiscal year.
Meanwhile Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif has strongly reacted to the shortage of petroleum products in the country and the difficulties faced by the people and termed it as failure of the government.
The Leader of the Opposition said that the government should sit down with the petroleum companies and come up with an immediate solution as people are suffering due to the shortage in petroleum products.
He said that the government has repeated the same mistake with the petroleum sector as they did with the country’s economy, gas and US dollar exchange rates.
The PML-N president said that at the time when people should be in compliance with the SOPs in maintaining social distancing to curb the spread of coronavirus, the shortage of petrol has caused a crowd at the petrol stations.
He said that despite the historic decline in the prices of petroleum products, the government not been able to provide relief to the people.
Sharif said that the Prime Minister has urged the private companies to pass on the benefit of reduced oil prices to the people but he himself has not acted on it. Why the benefit of the historic reduced oil prices has not been passed on to the people by reduction in electricity and gas prices, he added.