At a special ceremony to sign ‘Performance Agreements of the Federal Government for the Year 2020-21’ in Islamabad, the Prime Minister assessed the performance of his government so far and told his ministers that the government’s output needed to rise to much higher levels in the remaining time of its five-year tenure.

It must be said that the Prime Minister’s review of his own government’s performance was honest and earnest. There was less of the grandstanding and more was discussed about the practical limitations of the government. The Prime Minister admitted that in his first few months, he had to learn the ropes but that now, the government no longer had the excuse that they were new and learning, and so its performance for the next few years must be judged more harshly.

The Prime Minister addressed some of the biggest criticisms against his government; mainly on its inability to handle prices of the power sector and of food commodities. He pointed out the systematic hurdles that existed which made solutions to price regulation more difficult, for example, a lack of coordination of the provinces. While acknowledging the weaknesses of the government, in the power sector and the lack of concentration on agriculture, the Prime Minister also shed light on the government’s successes, such as the current account and the focus on exports.

These honest explanations to the public are important in any democracy and need to occur more often. The government’s performance in these two years has been a mixed bag—the admission of mistakes is the first step towards improvement. There are three years left for the government, and indeed, there are many opportunities for improvement, and many avenues which look hopeful. It is hoped that the government will continue on this record of self-assessment and focus on actual policies, rather than its usual confrontational approach of deflecting blame on the previous governments.