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Pakistan GDP growth of 2.4 percent is projected lowest by the World Bank (WB) in regional countries - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, for the current fiscal year (2020). The WB in its latest edition of the South Asia Economic Focus, Making Decentralization Work also projected that the growth rate of the Pakistan would continue to remain lowest in the region for the next year as well.

Pakistan, growth is projected to deteriorate further to 2.4 percent this fiscal year, as monetary policy remains tight, and the planned fiscal consolidation will compress domestic demand, said WB and added that the program signed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is expected to help growth recover from fiscal year 2021-22 onward. Pakistan has singed a 39-month $ 6 billion extended fund facility (EFF) the IMF effective from on July.

Pakistan's growth is projected at 2.4 percent for the next fiscal year (2020) whereas according to WB projection in Afghanistan, with improved farming conditions and assuming political stability after the elections, growth is expected to recover and reach 3 percent in 2020, while GDP of Bangladesh is projected at 7.2 percent for the current fiscal year, likewise, 7.4 percent GDP growth of Bhutan is projected for the current fiscal year, 6.9 percent GDP growth of India, 5.5 percent GDP growth of Maldives and 6.4 percent of Nepal and 3.3 percent GDP growth of Sri Lanka by the WB latest edition.

Pakistan GDP growth has been projected at 3 percent for the next fiscal year 2021 by the WB as opposed to GDP growth in Afghanistan at 3.5 percent for the next fiscal year Bangladesh 7.3 percent GDP growth, Bhutan is projected to grow at 5.9 percent, India 7.2 percent in the next fiscal year.

The GDP growth of Maldives for the next fiscal year (2021) is projected at 5.6 percent while GDP growth of Nepal is projected at 6.5 percent and GDP growth of Sri Lanka at 3.7 percent.

The report noted "that South Asia's current economic slowdown echoes the decelerating growth and trade slumps of 2008 and 2012. With that context in mind, the report remains cautiously optimistic that a slight rebound in investment and private consumption could jumpstart South Asia's growth up to 6.3 percent in 2020, slightly above East Asia and the Pacific, and 6.7 percent in 2021.

In a focus section, the report highlights how, as their economies become more sophisticated, South Asian countries have made decentralization a priority to improve the delivery of public services. With multiple initiatives underway across the region to shift more political and fiscal responsibilities to local governments, the report warns, however, that decentralization efforts in South Asia have so far yielded mixed results.

For decentralization to work, central authorities should wield incentives and exercise quality control to encourage innovation and accountability at the local level. Rather than a mere reshuffling of power, the report calls for more complementary roles across tiers of government, in which national authorities remain proactive in empowering local governments for better service delivery".

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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