Economic survey reveals country contained Covid-19 successfully

Data shows health expenditure increased 30 percent because of timely procurement of vaccines

Despite having an overburdened and under-equipped health system, Pakistan contained the COVID-19 outbreak successfully, according to the Economic Survey 2021-22 launched by Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail on Thursday.

“The government remained focused on upgrading the health system in response to challenges. “In the FY2022, health expenditures increased 30 per cent because of timely procurement and deployment of vaccines to contain the spread of Covid-19.  “In order to provide quality healthcare services to the masses, especially the poor, the government extended universal health coverage through Sehat Sahulat Card.

“The government is committed to implementing SDG 3 by developing an inclusive health system, reducing malnutrition and expanding basic health care in the country. However, low financial allocation for health, weak governance, and excessive focus on tertiary rather than primary healthcare are the problems that need to be addressed for achieving long-term sustainable economic development,” it said.

Meanwhile, it mentioned that the federal government took various initiatives at federal and provincial levels to raise standards of education as part of its commitment to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs).

It said that one such initiative was the launch of the single national curriculum (SNC) to minimize disparity in the country’s education system.

Moreover, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) under the Human Resource Development Programme, awarded overseas scholarships to a total number of 623 scholars, who proceeded abroad for their PhD, MS and under-graduate studies, the survey revealed.

According to details, a total number of 977 indigenous scholarships were awarded for under-graduate, post-graduate and PhD studies under various schemes and 327 scholars completed their studies during the FY2022 (Jul-Apr).

The survey said that the government of Pakistan offered scholarships to students of Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and the least developed countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

“As many as 469 scholarships were awarded to the nationals of above-mentioned countries, whereas 10 scholars completed their studies.”

A total number of 2,878 need-based scholarships were awarded during FY2022 (Jul-Apr) under different programmes, whereas 2,899 scholars completed their studies.

Furthermore, the survey said that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) was exploring new regimes for licensing such as television audience measurement (TAM) services.

“The growth of the media industry in Pakistan has multiplied rapidly during the last decade and now this sector is contributing considerably to building broadcasting apparatus in major cities of Pakistan and generating a large number of job opportunities for the youth, aspirants to pursue a career in electronic media.

“Over the period, a cumulative investment of approximately $4 to $5 billion has been estimated in the electronic media industry of Pakistan. The media industry in Pakistan was providing employment to more than 300,000 people in the field of journalism, management and technical. However, with the growing landscape of the media industry, significant employment opportunities were expected in the coming three to five years. Besides collecting advance tax from licensees at the time of issuance of licenses and their renewal, PEMRA has deposited Rs2,214,000 in the Federal Consolidated Fund (FCF) up to December 2021.”

Also, it said that the government of Pakistan has allocated Rs699.06 million for various projects of the Pakistan Television Corporation in the fiscal year 2022.