Pakistan’s economy long way from recovery: Daily

Islamabad, July 21 (IANS) Pakistan’s domestic investment is in a grim state, said a daily Tuesday, noting that the country’s economy is “a long way away from recovery”.

An editorial in the News International said that “around 96 percent of bank investment is in government bonds, which contributes nothing productive to the economy”.

It said that a day after announcing that foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2014-15 had plummeted by 58 percent to $709 million, the State Bank of Pakistan in its third-quarter report ended up painting a positive picture of the country’s economic situation.

“The report reflects the contradictory picture that the current government is attempting to paint, with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s budget speech claiming that the country’s macroeconomic indicators were now stable still ringing in our ears. The SBP claim was also contradicted by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, which reported last week that Pakistan’s exports were at a four-year low of $23.9 billion,” said the daily.

The editorial questioned the government’s claims of economic recovery and noted that despite claims that the Chinese investment is set to change the economic outlook of Pakistan, “the FDI this year is the worst in more than a decade”.

“The actual Chinese investment in 2015 was $229 million, three times less than last year.”

It added that domestic investment is in a grim state.

The daily cited the SBP as saying that the import of LNG and low international oil prices will facilitate the economy. “Almost bizarrely, it has pointed to the growth in the construction sector and private residential projects as ‘positive’ indicators.”

“Anyone with an understanding of the global economy should know that housing price increases cause economic bubbles, unless they are accompanied by a genuine increase in the productive base of an economy.

“The SBP admits low growth in the commodity producing sectors of agriculture and industry. This means that despite what the SBP and the federal government say, the Pakistani economy is a long way away from recovery,” the daily added.

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