Musharraf era was best in 63-year history of Pakistan: Dr Salman
15 November, 2010
LAHORE: Former finance minister Dr Salman Shah on Sunday claimed that the Musharraf regime was the best in over 60 years history of the country as far as the economic indicators and growth rate were concerned.
Addressing a discussion titled “Pakistan’s economic crisis and its solution: Who is responsible for price hike in Pakistan”, he said Shaukat Tareen’s policies brought a downfall to the national economy.
“We had left $16 billion reserves in 2007 which have now fell to only $6 billion and ultimately the government has to beg form the International Monetary Fund (IMF),” he said, adding that the IMF had offered loan on soft conditions in 2005 after the earthquake but the Musharraf government had rejected it.
He said the IMF loans would gradually destroy the national economy. “Pakistan’s external debts were $40 billion in 2008, which have now increased to $58 billion in just two and a half years and internal debts have also reached $40 billion,” Dr Salman said.
He said it was not the defence budget but the debt servicing which was responsible for the increase in inflation.
He said the interest rate was zero in US, 1-2 percent in Europe, 6 percent in India while in Pakistan the IMF wanted to take it to 15 percent, which was totally unjustified and a cause of inflation.
“We are currently facing cost-pulled inflation while the measures to control it are taken on the basis of demand-pulled which are making the condition worse,” he said, adding that only 17 percent people were living below the poverty line in 2007-08 while the number had now increased to 40 percent.
“Pakistan is blessed with young population that can be converted into an economic force. Three million new jobs are needed for the young population in the country and for this purpose an increase of eight percent in the growth rate is required annually otherwise the lava of population would ultimately blast with a bang,” he said, adding the GDP was falling since 2007 and there was a fear of negative GDP figures keeping in view the existing trends.
Earlier, Privatisation Commission member Iftikharul Haq gave a detailed presentation about the price hike since 1947 and also discussed various factors and policies, which were responsible for increase in inflation rate. He criticised the culture of extravagance and said that defence budget’s 20 percent was spent on unjustified expenditures. “The size of our cabinet is very large as the US has only 13 to 14 ministers while we are bearing the burden of more than 90 ministers,” he said. He held corruption, high population growth rate, energy crisis, high interest rate, black economy and poor management responsible for increase in inflation.
In the end, the TECH Society President Dr Sadiq presented a vote of thanks and stressed that in order to control price of a commodity its supply should be increased in the market.