ISLAMABAD: Pakistani politicians on the campaign trial promised to increase spending on health and education after a UN report released yesterday revealed the budget is among the lowest in the developing world.
The 2013 report ranked Pakistan 146 out of 187 countries on a human development index, equal to Bangladesh and just ahead of Angola and Myanmar.
“Pakistan has one of the lowest investments in terms of education and health — it spends 0.8 percent of its GDP on health and 1.8 percent on education,” the United Nations said in a statement.
It said 49 percent of the population live in poverty.
Senator Razina Alam of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), considered the frontrunner in May elections which will mark the country’s first democratic transition, pledged to transform the education system.
“We will increase resources for education and at least four percent of GDP would be allocated by the year 2018,” she said.
“In the health sector we will make a threefold increase in the budget by 2018,” she added.
Shafqat Mehmood, information secretary for ex-cricketer Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, said his party would triple spending on education and raise spending on health five times.
“The challenge of governance is a serious challenge in Pakistan as there is a lack of attention toward responding to peoples’ problems,” said Mehmood.