Islamabad [Pakistan], May 24 (ANI): Pakistan's opposition parties have slammed the federal government's announcement of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, estimating that it would hit 3.94 per cent for the fiscal year 2020-21.
The government had earlier estimated a GDP growth of 2.1 per cent for the outgoing fiscal year. The IMF and the World Bank, on the other hand, had predicted the GDP growth in the range of 1.5 per cent for the current fiscal year, reported The News International.
In a series of tweets, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif said the country's growth rate during his party's tenure was 5.8 per cent, but now Prime Minister Imran Khan was claiming 3.9 per cent, which was fake.
"An SBP (State Bank of Pakistan) representative objected to the figure being overstated. The PTI, in its first year, had increased the original figure from 1.9 per cent to 3.3 per cent. This year too, they lied," he claimed.
Stressing that independent economists had predicted a decline in real incomes for Pakistani citizens, Shehbaz said that the govt's predicted growth rate is 'unrealistic' and will be lower when reviewed.
He also highlighted that since February this year, prices of essential commodities have surged, while middle-class households had faced a severe setback due to the high inflation rate. "Imran Khan is running the country only for his friends," he said, noting that the ruling party has left five million people unemployed and 20 million in extreme poverty.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had a "unique talent in being absolutely shameless when it boldly and brazenly misleads the people", reported The News International.
In a statement, Bilawal said: "Fudging economic figures may feed the large egos in the government, but it doesn't feed the people. These alleged facts and figures tantamount to gas-lighting the lived experience of the people who are being crushed under the economic failures of Imran Khan."
He also pointed out that the PTI-led government in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has contributed to an exponential increase of poverty levels - from 9 per cent a decade ago to 27 per cent.
Pakistan's economy is in dire condition and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have further affected the economic growth. The World Bank recently set tough conditions for USD 1.5 billion lendings such as an increase in electricity rates, introduction of new power and tax policies, putting the Imran Khan-led government in a tight spot that is already seeking a review of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal.
Earlier this month, inflation in Pakistan skyrocketed to over 11 per cent amid a surge in food prices amid the Ministry of Finance's failure to give a realistic and professional assessment of the increasing prices in its monthly reports.
The Consumer Price Index jumped to 11.1 per cent in April over the same month a year ago. It was the highest rate of inflation in the past 13 months. In February 2020, inflation had jumped to 12.4 per cent. (ANI)