In a rather hilarious development, leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have misread a World Bank (WB) report criticising their government’s economic policies and have attacked the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) instead.
According to a draft report by the WB, Pakistan’s budget has lost its credibility and the public finance management has further weakened.
The Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) report, the final draft of which was shared with the Finance Ministry in June, contains findings that reflect the poor performance of the Finance Ministry and how it failed to uphold fiscal rules.
The report was widely shared by PML-N leaders and supporters, who held the incumbent PTI government responsible for the mismanagement of the country’s economic affairs.
The catch, however, is that the report assesses Pakistan’s public finance management system and an analysis of its annual budgets from 2015 to 2018 — a time period when the PML-N was in power.
Twitterati were quick to point out the blunder following which PML-N leaders, including Vice President Maryam Nawaz, deleted their tweets.
According to The Express Tribune, when compared with a similar assessment that the WB carried out in 2012, the country fared poorer on almost all indicators and seven key pillars.
There were hardly two indicators where the score improved while on the other two the score remained unchanged. In 2012, the country had secured five A grades – the highest score – but in the 2019 assessment, there was not even a single indicator where it got an A.
Pakistan lost the highest score on critical indicators like the classification of budget, comprehensiveness of budget information, transparency in inter-governmental fiscal operations, participation in budget process and predictability of direct budget support.
The lowest score is D plus and D. In 2012, the country got only six Ds and D plus but the lowest score reached a staggering 13 in 2019, reflecting the extremely poor performance of the Finance Ministry from 2015 to 2018.