In his first public address since his resignation as Pakistan’s finance minister, Asad Umar took on Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his assertions that he had resigned in an admission of failure during Wednesday’s National Assembly session.
Umar compared the current financial state to that during the PPP’s last tenure (2008 to 2013), drawing rather unfavourable comparisons.
He said that Bilawal has criticsed the steps taken to remedy Pakistan’s balance of payment situation and the forecast growth rate of three or 4%. Maybe no one told him that during his government’s tenure there was a growth rate of 2.8%, the lowest rate in our country’s history, he said.
Expenses have increased, he agreed. In the last eight months the average inflation rate has been 6.8% and could go up to seven or 8%, he said. But the average inflation rate during their five-year term was 12.3%, Umar told parliamentarians.
The budget deficit is increasing, there’s no doubt about that, he said. But during the PPP’s five-year term the average deficit growth was 7%, he contended, adding that it even touched 8.8%.
Another issue being brought up is the foreign loans, he said. Loans are going up and we acknowledge that, he said. “They shouldn’t but tell us which government hasn’t been forced to take loans during its tenure,” he asked. There was a massive increase in national debt during the 2008 to 2018 period, he contended.
Lastly, Bilawal said that by changing its finance minister, the government has admitted to its failure, said Umar. “Bilawal saab. During your government’s tenure four finance ministers changed,” he reminded the PPP chief. If we are failures, then what were you, he asked.
This has nothing to do with economy and nothing to do with the nation, he said, adding that it was a case of people who had looted the country being worried.
Now there is accountability and they must be worried, he said, adding that they must be worried about Swiss accounts, Dubai towers and Park Lane companies being in danger. He called them a mafia that stole the taxpayers’ money.
If we want to help the people, we will have to stand strong in front of the mafia, he said.