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Poverty in Pakistan up from 4.4% to 5.4%: World Bank



Pakistan’s poverty rate has risen from 4.4 per cent to 5.4 per cent, according to the World Bank. In Pakistan, more than two million individuals have slipped into poverty. 

Using the lower-middle-income poverty rate ($3.2 per day), the World Bank calculated that Pakistan’s poverty rate was 39.3 per cent in 2020-21, 39.2 per cent in 2021-22, and 37.9 per cent in 2022-23. 

The World Bank estimated that the poverty ratio in Pakistan stood at 39.3 per cent in 2020-21 and is projected to remain at 39.2 per cent in 2021-22 and might come down to 37.9 per cent by 2022-23, reported The News International.

The World Bank anticipated that poverty was at 78.4 per cent in 2020-21, 78.3 per cent in 2021-22, and 77.5 per cent in 2022-23, based on the upper-middle-income poverty rate ($5.5 per day). 

According to the World Bank’s Macro Poverty Outlook for Pakistan, the incidence of poverty grew from 4.4 to 5.4 per cent in FY20, based on the international poverty threshold of $1.90 per day, with more than two million people living in poverty. Furthermore, 40% of households experienced moderate to severe food insecurity. 

 According to the WB, the containment measures adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic led to a collapse in economic activity during the final quarter of FY20. As a result, the GDP growth is estimated to have contracted by 1.5 per cent in FY20.

During the period, half of the working population saw either job or income losses, with informal and low-skilled workers employed in elementary occupations facing the strongest contraction in employment.

Pakistan’s economy has been growing slowly over the past two decades. The annual per capita growth has averaged only two per cent, less than half of the South Asia average, partly due to inconsistent macroeconomic policies and an under-reliance on investment and exports to drive economic growth, reported the Pakistani daily.

The sectors in Pakistan that employ the poorest, such as agriculture, are expected to remain weak, and therefore poverty is likely to remain high, said the WB. The current account deficit is also projected to narrow to 0.8 per cent of GDP in FY21, as a wider trade deficit is offset by stronger remittances inflows.

The public debt will remain elevated in the medium term, as well Pakistan’s exposure to debt-related shocks, the WB concluded.

(With inputs from agencies)

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