According to the data released by Pakistan's cement industry group APCMA, the local uptake of cement in July 2020 increased by 32.67% to 3.953 million tons from 2.979 million tons in July 2019 while exports rose 66.14% to 0.885 million tons, up from 0.533 million tons in same month last year. Fertilizer Sales:
Sales of urea, a barometer of agriculture activity, have surged 83% to 1.18 million tons
in June 2020 from a year ago. The surge came after a decline 7% YoY to 2.6 million tonnes in the first half of CY20, partly due to COVID19 related lockdown in the country.
As the COVID19 pandemic eased in Pakistan, the country's exports bounced up to $1.998 billion in July 2020 against $1.889 billion in the same month of the last fiscal year 2019, up 5.8% in dollar terms year-over-year. The imports stood at $3.54 billion in July 2020 against $3.696 billion in the same month of 2019, recording a decline of 4.2 percent. The overall trade balance reduced by negative 14.7% as it stood at $1.542 billion in July 2020 compared with $1.8 billion in same month of 2019.
Pakistan is trying to address various impediments to growing exports. “More than half of Pakistani exporters struggle with domestic and foreign regulatory barriers,” said Invisible Barriers to Trade – Pakistan 2020: Business Perspectives. The report was prepared in collaboration with the World Bank Group’s country office in Pakistan. There's significant upside to exports if Pakistani government and exporters can join hands to address these "invisible barriers to trade". Naya Pakistan Housing:
Inn spite of the pandemic, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced a new housing construction incentives
package that includes down payment assistance and expansion of home loans portfolios by commercial banks at discounted rates for affordable housing for the poor.
Shariah compliant financing is also included in it. Pakistan’s mortgage finance to GDP ratio is just 0.25%, among the lowest in the world, according to the World Bank
. The average for South Asia 3.4%. New housing drives a large number of sectors of the economy from banking
and building materials
of furniture and home appliances
. These incentives are designed to stimulate the economy, boost employment and deal with the growing shortage of affordable housing in the country. CPEC Gains Momentum:
The work on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has gained momentum in spite of the pandemic that has slowed many sectors of the country's economy.
Pakistan has begun construction on major dam projects worth $11 billion. Diamer Bhasha dam will store 6.4 million acre-feet (MAF) of water and generate 4,500 MW of electricity
. Azad Pattan hydro-electric project will produce 700 MW of electricity.
Financing for the $6.8 billion ML-1 railway project has been agreed. It will be the first major upgrade of the train track since Pakistan's independence in 1947. This project will upgrade Pakistan’s existing 2,655km railway tracks to allow trains to move up to 165km/h – twice as fast as their current speed.
Nine special economic zones (SEZs), including Rashakai in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Allama Iqbal in Punjab and Dhabeji in Sindh province, have been launched. Some 1,000 acres of land had been procured for Rashakai SEZ, the groundbreaking of Allama Iqbal SEZ in Faisalabad had been done and tenders opened for Dhabeji SEZ, which would be built on 3,000 acres of land. Pakistan's Human Development:
One of the biggest areas of concern is Pakistan's laggard performance in human development. This requires closer civil-military cooperation to deliver better education and health care to improve the country's competitiveness in the world.
There's reason for optimism, however. Key indicators show that education and health care
in Pakistan are improving but such improvements are slower than in other countries in South Asia region. Pakistan's human development ranking plunged to 150 in 2018, down from 149 in 2017. It is worse than Bangladesh at 136, India at 130 and Nepal at 149. The decade of democracy under Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) has produced the slowest annual human development growth rate in the last 30 years. The fastest growth in Pakistan human development was seen in 2000-2010, a decade dominated by President Musharraf's rule
, according to the latest Human Development Report 2018. One of the biggest challenges facing the PTI
government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan is to significantly accelerate human development rates in Pakistan. Summary:
Pakistanis have defied all foreign and domestic doomsayers, including media, activists and think tanks of all varieties. Pakistan has successfully fought off the deadly COVID19 virus
and begun to bounce back economically. Moody's rating agency has raised Pakistan's economic outlook from "under review for downgrade" to "stable". Pakistan's Planning Minister Asad Umar is talking of a "V-shaped recovery
". Monthly cement sales have rebounded to pre-pandemic level, fuel sales have increased, tax collection is up, exports are rising and the Karachi stock market is booming again. Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief General Javed Bajwa have been on the same page in tackling the health and economic crises faced by Pakistan. Contrary to the critics of Pakistan's civil-military ties, Khan-Bajwa cooperation has been one of the keys to the country's success in dealing with the twin crises. Here's a brief video clip of Bill Gates' remarks on CNN:https://youtu.be/NWTkfhiwsG4
http://www.youtube.com/embed/NWTkfhiwsG4"; width="560"></iframe>" height="315" src="https://img1.blogblog.com/img/video_object.png" width="560" style="color: #000000; font-family: times; font-size: medium; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; white-space: normal; widows: 2; word-spacing: 0px; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; text-decoration-style: initial; text-decoration-color: initial; background-color: #b2b2b2;" />Related Links:Haq's MusingsSouth Asia Investor ReviewCOVID19 in Pakistan: Test Positivity Rate and Deaths DecliningPakistan's Pharma Industry Among World's Fastest GrowingIs Pakistan's Response to COVID19 Flawed?Pakistan's Computer Services Exports Jump 26% Amid COVID19 LockdownCoronavirus, Lives and Livelihoods in PakistanVast Majority of Pakistanis Support Imran Khan's Handling of Covid1...Pakistani-American Woman Featured in Netflix Documentary "Pandemic"Coronavirus Antibodies Testing in PakistanCan Pakistan Effectively Respond to Coronavirus Outbreak? How Grim is Pakistan's Social Sector Progress?Pakistan Fares Marginally Better Than India On Disease BurdensTrump Picks Muslim-American to Lead Vaccine EffortDemocracy vs Dictatorship in PakistanPakistan Child Health IndicatorsPakistan's Balance of Payments CrisisPanama Leaks in PakistanConspiracy Theories About Pakistan Elections"PTI Triumphs Over Corrupt Dynastic Political PartiesStrikingly Similar Narratives of Donald Trump and Nawaz SharifNawaz Sharif's Report CardRiaz Haq's Youtube Channel