Manpower development in Pakistan hopelessly low
December 09, 2011
A UN report issued in connection with manpower development has indicated that Pakistan ranks 145 out of 187 listed countries. The report also mentions that there has been an increase in the ratio of poverty, as almost 53% of total population is subject to poverty. These statistics depict quite an alarming situation of majority of masses living in an impoverished state.
One of the major reasons for this alarming increase in poverty has also been attributed to fast rising inflation, as was evident from one of economic surveys, which has indicated a 16% to 30% increase in edible commodities prices. The prices have increased without any increase in the income of the masses, which has led to an imbalance, embroiling masses in severe survival crisis, forcing a majority of them to survive below the poverty line.
In its report regarding inflation in Southeast Asian continent, the UN has expressed its concerns over the fact that Pakistan has skyrocketed to a far ahead position in terms of inflation. Poverty has surged by 2.5% in urban and 1.5% in rural areas of Country; while inflation has surged by more than 14%, with a 20% increase in commodities prices. Factors like massive tariff hike, historically devastating floods, and imprudently faulty policies have been cited as major causes for this inflationary hike. Electricity tariffs have registered a massive hike of up to 17% strong, affecting almost all sectors. To add fuel to already burning flames of poverty and inflation, the imprudent government added another hike in petroleum prices, as effective from 01st Dec 2011.
These were increased at an importune and illogical time, while they were on a decline worldwide. The most glaring example of this anomaly can be easily discerned by the fact that while India decreased its petroleum prices, Pakistan raised them at the very moment! This is quite a glaring example of false tall claims of government that it was making due efforts for economic resurgence of Country, as at the very same moment, it is stifling all economic growth by increasing tariffs in electricity, gas, petrol etc. The historical 31% electricity tariff bomb is one such example of mis-governance, mismanagement and imprudent endeavors of regime. Gas has also experienced record increase in its tariff, as there is a 14.05% (Rs.43.93 per MMBTU) increase approved for SNGLP (Sui Northern Gas). There is also an 11% (Rs.34 per MMBTU) increase approval for SSGPL (Sui Southern gas). OGRA (Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority) has forwarded a summary to Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, regarding the issue, leaving government to sort out any possible relief subsidies to the masses. According to the summary, gas consumers would have to pay Rs15 billion as additional tariff, for Parliamentarian gas development scheme.
Meanwhile, in its current economy watch, the State Bank of Pakistan has pointed out the inflation and economic challenges. It has also embarked on a policy of encouraging such factors like fostering investment culture and maintaining /increasing growth factors, and warding off any dangers to Nation’s economy, and maintaining it at 200 base points under any circumstances. This endeavor of State Bank is directed to encourage investment in Country, despite all odds.
State Bank has been able to acknowledge the inherent weaknesses and drawbacks of Pakistan’s economic approaches, and economic backwardness. These dangers /problems include possible resurfacing of medium term inflation issues, and problems being faced by State Bank relating to maintaining of markets’ share and foreign reserves’ strengths. After carefully evaluating latest information and predictions, it becomes evident that economic challenges have increased considerably during past two months. One such example pertains to the fact that inflation as compared to consumer price index stood at 11%, however still the increasing inflationary trends increased rapidly at an average of 1.3% monthly. Close scrutiny of consumer price index reveals that there has been a constant development in commodities registering a regular increase of 10% annually. All such commodities fall into non-edible items. Meanwhile, the government has increased its future support price of wheat price by 100, at Rs1050 per 40-kilo pack.
Inflationary measures can be best discerned by such factors as heavy governmental borrowings, and inertial effects of inflation. Energy factor is another active element causing such economic fallout. Meanwhile the external factors have also deteriorated considerably, despite the reduced policy rates. Meanwhile, the predicted rate of foreign loans worth U$.1.6 billion is also much higher than anticipated, and the major reason for this anomaly is the increasing trade deficit of Country, especially, the immense and sudden unexpected decline in anticipated export earning from cotton in view of increased cotton prices.
The economic experts agree that controlling the unbridled prices of energy sector can also be helpful in controlling inflation. This is due to the undisputed fact that increase in energy factors automatically increase production costs. It is a universal fact that industries cannot function without energy. Meanwhile, the second important economy factor of any country is also its agriculture products, which are dependent on machinery, which feeds on the petroleum products. Hence, it is definitely not advisable to increase diesel prices.
State Bank has deliberated expressively over economic scenario of the Country, leaving all options open for the government’s implementation and planning. The population has peaked to more than 170 million, while is anticipated at 190 million by 2015. This calls for extensive resources, possible only with prudent result-oriented planning.