PTI leaders hit out at govt over its economic mismanagement

Tarin says default threat still looms: Wonders why IMF not questioning present govt over rising primary deficit: Azhar says govt can’t reduce POL prices because it purchased extra oil in June at exorbitant rates

By: News Desk
Published: 01:19 PM, 23 Aug, 2022
PTI leaders hit out at govt over its economic mismanagement
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Former finance minister and PTI leader Shaukat Tarin has lashed out at government for bringing five mini-budgets and unleashing a storm of inflation in the country while stating that the economy is not out of woods as the country is still facing a threat of default, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Tarin was addressing a presser along with former energy minister Hammad Azhar in Lahore on Tuesday. 

Hitting out at the government over its economic claims, the PTI leader said that all economic indicators were suggesting that country’s economy was in a shambles. 

Spelling out the stats of economic pointers, Tarin rejected the government’s claim that the previous PTI regime was responsible for the downfall of the economy. He said the PTI government provided a subsidy of Rs557 billion during its tenure while the current government was providing a subsidy of Rs954 billion.  

The former finance minister took the government to task on the budget deficit saying the total deficit financing done in the PTI’s full term was Rs2.6 trillion but the present government took it to Rs2.7 trillion in just three months. He was of the view that the PTI did not lay landmines rather it’s the coalition government which was lying the landmines.  

He further claimed that in the last fiscal year, the PTI primary deficit was Rs447 billion in nine months but the same rose to Rs1.6 trillion in just three months of the PMLN-led government. He said why the IMF was not questioning the present government over it as it used to grill the previous government over it. Who is stopping the IMF to press the present government on this matter, he wondered saying maybe it’s Washington. 

He further refuted the coalition government’s claim that the PTI increased the borrowing. “Borrowing has become double during the present government’s tenure,” he added.

He said that during four-year PTI term, the total debt was Rs18.4 trillion which was ballooned to Rs9.7 trillion in just three months of the coalition government. 

Tarin censured the government for bringing five mini-budgets while claiming that another was also on the cards. He mocked at government’s claim that inflation would be around 11.5% saying that the State Bank of Pakistan on the contrary stated that inflation would be more than 20%. 

On default, the former finance minister said that the threat had not been eliminated contrary to the government claim. 

“I am going to tell you about the Credit Default Swap which predicts default chances. Pakistan default chances were 4% in March; 50% in July and now there are 28% chances of default,” Tarin explained. 

He said the PTI government did not take the country to the path of default, rather it’s the current government which is taking it towards default as Moody, S&P and other credit rating agencies downgraded Pakistan’s economic outlook.

He said the country lost $6 billion foreign exchange reserves during the three-month tenure of this government. 

Speaking on the occasion, former energy minister Hammad Azhar censured government for failing to bring down prices of POL products and electricity due to its incompetence. 

He said that it was a dilemma that despite the fact that the prices of oil went down by 30% to 40% in the international market during last 1.5 months, but in our country the rates were going up. 

He alleged that the inept government had purchased an extra 70% oil at exorbitant prices in the month of June. The oil was bought in abundance even the country’s inventories were full to their capacity with this expensive petrol as the Attock Refinery had also reminded the government of oil abundance. 

He deplored that even the National Bank closed the LCs for oil import at Rs248, costlier by Rs8 as compared to the market rate.

On electricity shortfall, Azhar said the government produced 10% less electricity in the peak season of July. He said this shortfall would have been 20%, had the previous PTI government not commissioned the nuclear power plant in April which was adding 1200MW electricity to the national grid. 

He revealed that due to most expensive imported coal and LNG agreements that the PML-N government had made between 2013 and 2018, several power plants had been closed. He lamented that the government even had to spend billions on these closed plants.