Islamabad [Pakistan], October 14: The World Bank has warned that Pakistan is at a tipping point on poverty with 40 per cent of its population below the poverty line.
The warning comes ahead of the elections. The Bank’s policy note is meant to act as a guide for the new government that will take office after the elections for policy reforms.
Underlying the Bank’s suggestions for the future is the fact that over 12.5 million Pakistanis fell below the poverty line last year and are struggling to meet their daily needs. The latest statistics show that poverty rose from 34.2 per cent to 39.4 per cent. With more people falling below the poverty line of USD 3.65 per day income level.
With Pakistan facing serious economic and human development crises, it is abundantly clear that the country is today unable to reduce poverty and living standards have fallen behind peer countries. This is certainly going to be a challenge in the near future, but the real problem is the capacity of any government in Pakistan to make a substantial difference has always been in doubt.
Country Director for the World Bank in Pakistan Najy Benhassine, while releasing the policy notes on Pakistan, said this may be their moment to make policy shifts. Najy says Pakistan has been facing numerous economic hardships including inflation, rising electricity prices, severe climate shocks, and insufficient public resources to finance development and climate adaptation.
The Bank’s policy note claims that the current model of development can’t reduce poverty in Pakistan, as the country has the lowest per capita income in South Asia and the highest out-of-school kids in the world. Pakistan’s human development outcomes lag well behind the rest of South Asia and is roughly equivalent to those in many Sub-Saharan African countries with the costs disproportionately borne by girls and women.
Statistics in this regard says that close to 40% of children under five years of age are stunted and Pakistan has the largest number (20.3 million) of out-of-school children in the world.
According to the World Bank, Pakistan’s growth model has also resulted in periodic balance of payments crises driven by unsustainable fiscal and current account deficits that necessitated subsequent painful contractionary adjustments, slowing growth, reducing certainty and undermining investments.