ISLAMABAD – The PML-N government has partially succeeded in fulfilling party’s manifesto in last five years as the government was successful in reducing electricity loadshedding, and improving domestic security but it failed to bring tax reform and to privatize State Owned Enterprises.
The economy has gradually found a growth trajectory that appears sustainable. Inflation may appear well under control, much of this may be a factor of external variables, most notably lower global oil prices during most of these years, a local think tank Policy Research Institute of Market Economy (PRIME) has noted in its latest report.
The Prime has been regularly tracking the PML-N’s performance against its election manifesto has issued its final report analyzing the government’s performance over the past 5 years.
The report shows that the PML-N during five years of government has only partially succeeded in fulfilling manifesto promises to their voters.
The report warned that high fiscal slippage, falling reserves, and piling debt are major concerns.
The Policy Scorecard calculates that the federal government of the PML-N was able to achieve around 67.3percent of their energy security targets.
Notably, the scorecard assessed that the government was able to implement only 29.3 percent of their tax reform agenda, with very little progress in expanding the tax net, broadening the base, taxing all income, reforming the FBR, ensuring compliance, and rationalizing the tax rates and brackets. The scorecard also notes that the achievement of trade policy goals was not satisfactory, with only 47 percent of the targets being realized.
The scorecard concludes that Pakistan’s regional trade barriers continue to exist and the lack of diversification and high tariffs have kept Pakistan on the lower end of most trade-related rankings.
Speaking at the launch of the report, PPP Senator Farhatullah Baber said that the government should also be held responsible for social and human development. He suggested that the future performance of the government should also be assessed on the basis of achievement of the sustainable development goals.
He termed the State Owned Enterprises as white elephants and said incumbent government could not bring reforms or privatise these enterprises including Pakistan International Airlines. Parliament’s recommendations to turn around PIA had been ignored on the ground that the national airline was a private entity and instead of restructuring it was allowed to accumulate huge debt, he and added that power generation has been stressed but no attention given to transmission and distribution of power as a result of which loadshedding has not ended.
Farhatullah said that hyper judicial activism and perceived bias of NAB had also gravely undermined the executive’s capacity to take economic decisions and called for legislation to regulate the exercise of suo motu powers.
Any power that is not regulated by law or is exercised excessively is a negation of the rule of law and called for a public debate to making appropriate legislation.
A lot of good has also been done by it but excessive exercise of suo motu jurisdiction the highest court itself become a trial court and extinguished the right to appeal- a fundamental of the rule of law.
He said in exercise of suo motu powers a citizen must feel that he is getting his right and not bounty from the court. Suo motu must not degenerate into a hyper activity in response to media headlines and powers must be guided by law and not by populism.
He recalled that in September 2011 a delegation of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) visited Pakistan and recommended that rules be framed for criteria for the use of suo motu and allocation of cases to benches. “The SC then issued a long rejoinder saying people appreciated the suo motu cases. However it did not say anything about the law and the rules governing the criteria and allocation of suo motu cases,” he said.
Author of the scorecard, Zohair Abbasi explained that the government was successful in reducing electrical load shedding, and in improving domestic security, it failed in its goals to bring about tax reform, and to privatize State Owned Enterprises. Senior PMLN stalwart Sartaz Aziz in a statement sent to the conference said that the PML-N had managed to double the growth rate and improved the energy mix. He noted that the government had also worked to improve internet penetration, and had successfully seen off the transition into 3G and 4G technologies.
Prime Executive Director Ali Salman said that there are three major narratives in domestic politics, including the narrative of development, the narrative of justice and the narrative of rights.
He also lauded the role of political players, and urged that Pakistanis should repose their confidence in political actors instead of non political actors.