Per capita income plunges to $1,568

Mehtab Haider
Friday, May 26, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s per capita income in dollar terms has plunged to $1,568 in the outgoing fiscal year 2022-23 as against $1,766 in the last financial year.

“The per capita income in dollar terms has dropped by 11.38 percent, standing at $1,568 in 2022-23 against $1,766 in the last financial year 2021-22,” top official sources confirmed while talking to The News on Thursday.

The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has given the population number of 231.5 million. The size of economy in dollar terms also shrank, as it decreased to $341.6 billion in the current fiscal year 2022-23 as against $375 billion for the last financial year 2021-22.

The massive exchange rate depreciation and drop in the real GDP growth rate also resulted in a decrease in the size of the economy in dollar terms by $33.4 billion just in one year.

The size of economy in rupee terms stood at Rs38.927 trillion for the outgoing fiscal year 2022-23 as against Rs38.814 trillion for the last financial year 2021-22.

Top official sources told The News that it was the first time in the country’s history that the National Accounts Committee (NAC) held its meeting without presenting any working paper mainly because there was haste in calculating the desirable growth number; changes were made in the growth figures and the working paper could not be finalized at the last moment.

Now various discrepancies have been identified showing synergy could not be properly developed. The education growth was shown at 10.4 percent in the provisional growth number of GDP, which is the highest ever as the previous highest number was 3.7 percent in the fiscal year 2017-18.

The health services grew by 8.5 percent, which is even higher than 6.2 percent during the Covid-19 pandemic when it was the mainstay of the government and resources were diverted towards it to combat it effectively. The other services are higher than in the last year, which is anomalous, as most of it has fixed growth rate of base year. How come a small component of variable can turn around the growth?

The wholesale and trade witnessed a negative growth of 4.46 percent despite negative growth of 3.2 percent in important agriculture crops, negative growth in large scale manufacturing by 7.9 percent and massive contraction in imports. The services, which contributes 58 percent to the growth of the country, has allegedly witnessed major discrepancies after which the growth number turned from negative to positive. There has been another anomaly, as the government claimed in front of donors that 1.8 million animals had died in the severe floods but the livestock sector witnessed 3.78 percent growth. The NAC meeting changed its timings four times on Wednesday. Initially, the PBS high-ups resisted but a meeting was convened in the Q Block (Ministry of Finance) where two senior officials informed the relevant quarters that the growth number must be turned into positive. So, the GDP growth figure for the previous fiscal year was brought down from 6.5 percent to 6.1 percent and then the numbers of services and others were jacked up for the current fiscal year to turn it from negative zone to positive range for the current fiscal year. Because all of this happening in the background, the working paper could not be tabled in the NAC meeting. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) shows that the growth should hover around a positive 0.5 percent of GDP in accordance with their model but when the actual numbers were run through it, discrepancies surfaced. The sources said Finance Minister Ishaq Dar did not play any role in jacking up the GDP growth rate numbers as he did not participate in any of these official meetings.