Ishaq Dar deems PTI’s white paper on economy as ‘misleading’

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Special Correspondent

ISLAMABAD, Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Wednesday rejected a white paper on the national economy issued by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) the other day, termed the narrative of poor state of economy as ‘misleading’.

Largely comparing the economic performance of the PTI tenure to that of the previous tenure of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Dar said that they strengthened the national economy and handed it in a good state to the PTI in 2018.

But mismanagement by the PTI ruined the national economy, he said, noting that they improved the economy while working dealing with challenges such as heavy expenditures on ensuring better security in the country apart from tackling crushing load shedding and circular debt.

Recalling the economic feats achieved by the PML-N government from 2013 to 2018, Ishaq Dar said that they oversaw a period where the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country improved from $244 billion to $356 billion.

“During our tenure, we increased the size of the country’s economy by $112 billion in comparison to the PTI raised $61 billion in their last tenure from 2018 to 2022,” he added.

Economic chaos due to mismanagement of 42 months of PTI

A visibly angry Ishaq Dar said that the current economic chaos in the country was the outcome of the 42 months of economic mismanagement of PTI, not the result of eight months of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government at the helm.

Federal Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal chimed in that the terms for the IMF loan had been agreed to by the PTI government. He further said that the PTI never tried to control the prices of commodities.

Quoting reports of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dar said that the economic growth rate this year will be 2.7%. Dar said that the budget deficit when they left in 2018 was at 5.8%. But towards the end of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) tenure, it had swelled to 7.6%.

Addressing a news conference along with other members of the federal cabinet in Islamabad, he said that the economic growth rate in 2018 was 6.1%, but during the PTI tenure, it had shrunk to 1.5%.

Sharing the breakdown, Dar said the economic growth rate was 3.12% in the first year of PTI.

Reality check on inflation The finance minister said that the inflation was at 4.7% at the end of 2018. But it ballooned during the first year of PTI tenure to 7.3%. The interest rate in 2018 was 7.5%, and in July 2019, the interest rate rose to 13.25%.

He said that PTI claimed to have provided 5.5 million jobs, but official data says only 3.2 million jobs were created during the PTI era. Dar said the government’s official rate of the dollar was around Rs224 due to some factors, including smuggling and US dollar flight.

Ishaq Dar said the previous PTI government destroyed the country’s economy during its tenure. He said a malicious campaign is being carried out by the PTI that Pakistan would go “bankrupt”, but in reality, there is absolutely no chance of it.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Monday comp­ared the economic performance of the Pakistan Demo­cratic Movement (PDM) and PTI governments. The White Paper painted a bleak picture of affairs and warned that hyperinflation, coupled with unemployment, could push the country towards complete anarchy.