Pakistan's total population attains new mark amid economic slump

World Wednesday 24/May/2023 09:56 AM
Pakistan's total population attains new mark amid economic slump

Islamabad: Pakistan's total population has reached 249,566,743 (249.566 million), as per the initial results of the seventh national and first-ever digital population census 2023, said Chief Census Commissioner and Chief Statistician, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), Naeemuz Zafar, Pakistan based Business Recorder reported.

Business Recorder is an English-language financial daily newspaper in Pakistan. The Census Commissioner while addressing a press conference, stated that as far as the province-wise breakdown is concerned, "Punjab is the most populous province with its population crossing 127,474,000 (127.4 million). Sindh's population is over 57,931,000 (57.93 million)."

"Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa population reached 39,823,138 (39.823 million), while Balochistan's population is over 21,977,000 (21.9 million). The population of the federal capital, Islamabad, has reached 2,359,422 (2.35 million)."

As per the Census Commissioner, Pakistan's population had increased by 49 million since the last census. Where the overall cost is concerned, the Census Commissioner stated that the total cost for the first-ever digital census would be over Rs 34 billion.

He further said that 10.7 million more people were counted additionally by expanding the census timeline. "After the results are out in June, a request will be made to the Council of Common Interests (CCI) to use this data for the election," the Chief Census Commissioner added.

More than 0.2 million complaints were received regarding the census, said Chief Census Commissioner, adding that most of the complaints, including those of political parties, had been redressed.

All services provided at province, district and Tehsil levels like monitoring dashboards and access of tablets for data entry will be closed on May 22, 2023, by midnight.

The verification process, as per directions of the prime minister, will be completed by the DCs/ACs by May 30, 2023. They will get data manually regarding non-coverage, if any. Non-coverage complaints at CSC by DCs/ACs and PBS Call Centres will be entertained subject to the provision of NIC number and redressed till May 30, 2023. Retrieval of tablets at the Census Support Centre (CSC) will be commenced on May 24, 2023, after synchronization of the data, if any.

The headcount data of restricted areas and collective residences will be incorporated into the population counts of the respective block. All Census District Officers will provide a completion certificate and payments to the census field staff will be made by DCs/ACs after the provision of the completion certificate. Demographers Committee will finalise its recommendations for consideration of CMC after analysing census data by applying demographic techniques, according to Business Recorder.

Pakistan's economy is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea and there does not appear to be the required expertise to think out of the box to address the impasse due to the flawed policies of the past or to negotiate more effectively with the Fund staff, Business Recorder reported. Pakistan instead has been claiming that it has the capacity to meet its external obligations post-July 2023.

Pakistan Bureau of Statistics has calculated the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) for the week ending 11 May at 48.02 per cent year on year. The Large-Scale Manufacturing Sector Index reduced to a negative 8.11 per cent from July-March 2023, clearly and unambiguously indicating stagflation with rising prices while output stagnates, as per the Business Recorder report.

This state of affairs has been intensified by flawed economic policy decisions that include dependency on the low-hanging fruit for tax revenue while resisting any attempt to widen the tax net for political reasons. At the same time, the Pakistan government's current expenditure continues to increase massively each year, which is 75 per cent in the first eight months compared to the previous year.