ISLAMABAD: About 83% of Pakistanis are concerned about their job security while 31% of respondents have themselves or people known to them have lost their jobs due to prevailing economic conditions, reveals a new opinion survey.
Ipsos – a global market research and consulting firm – on Thursday officially announced the findings of its second Global Consumer Confidence Index (GCCI) survey, generally known as the National Index, which was conducted last month.
Increasing inflation, unemployment and increasing poverty turned out to be the most worrying issues for the respondents as all depicted poor economic management of the country that has now left millions in the lurch.
The results showed that people’s trust in the economy had further weakened; they were less comfortable about making investments and only 21% were of the opinion that the country was heading in the right direction.
People were questioned about their confidence in the economy, their opinion about the current situation compared to a year earlier, investment decisions and job prospects.
The results are based on a score ranging from 0-100 and the index inching towards 100 means better sentiment. The survey was conducted in December.
Survey results showed that people’s confidence in the economy was on the decline as the country’s score on the National Index stood at only 32.8 – one point lower than the August 2019 findings. India’s score stood at 61.1, which also dropped from 62.9.
Owing to the government’s economic stabilisation policies, the country is passing through a phase of low economic growth and higher inflation. Ipsos survey findings were in line with the prevailing sentiment about Pakistan’s economy where the lowest income groups were affected the most and political and economic uncertainties had shattered their confidence.
Results of Ipsos research are based on the primary data collected from the nationally representative sample of 2,900 people aged between 18 and 65 years in December 2019.
About 91% of Pakistanis were less comfortable about buying a car or a home as compared to a year ago, according to the survey. Similarly, 90% of Pakistani respondents said they were not comfortable about making household purchases.
On the question of job security, only 17% Pakistanis said their jobs were secure while 31% of respondents said they or people known to them had lost their jobs as a result of economic conditions.
The GCCI index is composed of four sub-indices – Current Conditions Index, Expectations Index, Investment Index and Jobs Index. The National Confidence Index was the lowest in Pakistan among the 28 nations surveyed.
Pakistan’s score on the Current Index, which showed comparison between the current economic situation and the condition a year ago, slipped further to a new low of 19.2, down from the August level of 19.5.
On the Expectations Index, the score dipped slightly to 43.6, suggesting weakening hopes for any improvement in the situation over the next six months.
People are not willing to make personal investment decisions in the next six months due to an overall low trust in the economy, according to the poll.
On the Investment Index, the score dropped further to 19.1, suggesting that the respondents would not invest in the near future.
The hopes for jobs are fast fading away with the score slipping to 49.7, from the August level of 52.2.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had promised to create 10 million jobs in five years and build five million homes. However, last week, the prime minister acknowledged that the government could not give jobs to the people, although he claimed that 2020 would be the year of economic revival.
Although the International Monetary Fund and the government believe that the stabilisation phase would end in two years, there is still not a clear economic road map about how the government will ensure economic recovery after two years.
PM Imran, this week, told a businessmen delegation that his government was not yet in a position to ease tight monetary and fiscal policies.
For 30% of respondents, unemployment was the most worrying issue while another 29% said increase in inflation was the most worrying issue for them. Burden of additional taxes was the third most worrying issue, followed by increase in poverty, lack of health facilities and increase in terrorism.
Only 3% of respondents said they were very satisfied with the present economic situation and another 18% said they were fairly satisfied. The remaining 79% were either fairly dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with the economic situation in Pakistan.
Only 21% of Pakistani respondents said the country was heading in the right direction while the remaining 79% said it was going in the wrong direction. The perception remained unchanged as compared to the August 2019 survey.
People did not have hope of any improvement in their personal finances in the next six months. Only 9% agreed that their overall quality of life would improve in the next five years, showing diminishing hopes among the people.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2020.