ISLAMABAD: Despite spending Rs4.06 trillion since 2012-13, Pakistan has failed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in health, education, social welfare and other areas, as progress on 24 indicators was way off track with only four appearing achievable.
Documents and statistics of the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms and the Ministry of Finance portray a depressed picture of the country, as it failed to achieve most of the goals despite spending trillions of rupees by the incumbent government and its predecessor.
The MDG targets come from the Millennium Declaration signed by 189 countries, including 147 heads of state and government in September 2000. The MDGs have officially ended in 2015, but MDGs acceleration framework will continue till 2018.
“Pakistan adopted 16 targets and 41 indicators against which progress towards achieving eight goals of MDGs is measured,” the planning ministry documents suggest.
It adds Pakistan’s progress in 24 indicators was way off track and it had only achieved four targets. “Seen in the regional context, Pakistan’s performance on MDGs remained less satisfactory as compared to other countries,” it states.
According to the Ministry of Finance, since FY2012-13, a total of Rs4.06 trillion have been spent in five major sectors at the federal and provincial levels till the ongoing fiscal year.
The governments have spent Rs206.7 billion for water supply and sanitation; Rs2.58 trillion – the highest amongst all sectors – for education. About Rs974.3 billion has been spent on health; Rs47.5 billion for population and planning – the lowest – and Rs244.9 million for social security and welfare.
Despite the failures, as per the figures, the governments have been increasing the budget to achieve the goals as the expenditure was Rs707 billion for the said areas in FY2012-13 that had surged to Rs1,144.2 billion in FY2015-16 while the current government has spent Rs473 billion till December 2016.
Provincially, Punjab had the highest number of expenditure in the said period at Rs1,592 billion followed by other provinces with total expenditure of Rs663.6 billion.
Of the seven goals the government had set nationally, it was on track for only four targets. Provincial-wise, Punjab has achieved one-third of the universal primary education goal and one-fifth on reduction of child mortality while it missed the rest of the goals.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh have also achieved marginal achievement in those goals. Sindh was one-fifth successful in achieving the goal of reducing the child mortality rate while it was off track in the rest of the goals.
Interestingly, the data of two important goals — combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases and ensuring environment sustainability — was not provided by all the four provinces, as per the document.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2017.