The catastrophic floods in Pakistan have caused economic damages from $10 billion to $12.5 billion apart from the loss of lives as estimated by the government.

A high-profile committee with representation from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning, State Bank of Pakistan, FBR, PIDE and others evaluated that poverty and unemployment have gone up manifold, rising from 21.9% to over 36%.

The committee projected a rise in inflation in the range of 24-27% that could reach 30% in the current fiscal year.

Some 37% of the population has been hit by poverty after 118 districts of the country were ravaged by severe flooding.

Unemployment has gone up significantly but the government has decided to share any number after holding consultations with stakeholders. The unemployment rate stood at 6% before the recent floods.

Official sources said that the GDP growth would be reduced from 5% to 2% for the current fiscal. The State Bank of Pakistan revealed that growth would be reduced from 4% to 2%.

Agriculture faced a much severe impact in the aftermath of floods and the value addition of produce in the range of over Rs500 billion might evaporate in the current fiscal year. The agriculture growth target and services sector faced severe impacts.

The acute losses on the economic front may aggravate as the SBP’s model is estimated to ascertain losses on the basis of disrupted economic activities hit in the flood-affected areas. The SBP has been using satellite images of SUPARCO to assess the exact losses faced by the agriculture sector. Google has also offered the government to get its services to ascertain the total accumulated losses to agriculture and physical infrastructure.

The last flood that had hit the country in 2010 had caused damages in 78 districts but the ferocity of recent floods could be gauged from the fact that it had caused damages in 118 districts of those areas, which are major hubs of economic activities.

Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha, when contacted, said that the government had made the latest projections but these would be shared with the relevant stakeholders before making them public.

She told a group of reporters that the initial assessment was underway and it would be firmed up soon after which it would be made public.

She said that the assessment of damages on the economic front would be shared with donors. The government has also directed the authorities concerned to come up with the projection of assessment about a possible increase in non-performing loans (NPLs), she added.

“The government has envisaged an agriculture growth target of 3.9% for the current fiscal year. The initial assessment shows that the agriculture growth would face a loss of 1.8% and it will be standing at 2% of the GDP. The services sector will face a loss of 2% of GDP and will be standing at 3.1% for the current fiscal year.”

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