ISLAMABAD – The finance minister Ishaq Dar presented Economic Survey of Pakistan 2016-2017 report in Islamabad on Thursday.
According to the report, the growth rate of the country stood at 5.3 percent, the highest in last 10 years whereas Industrial sector grew by 5.05 percent during the outgoing fiscal year.
“After almost 10 years, we have exceeded 5% GDP growth. In 2013, we were in the range of 3% growth, and within 4% in the next couple of years. This year, the Pakistani economy has grown by 5.28%, rounded off to 5.3% GDP growth,” said the finance minister.
Claiming that the country’s economy has surpassed $300 billion, the finance minister said growth rate for next fiscal year has been set above 6 per cent adding that the growth rate for agriculture sector was negative, last year.
‘Growth rate for agriculture sector stood at 0.25 percent’ claimed Ishaq Dar.
He also expressed that growth rate was 3 percent back in 2013 when PML-N assumed office. The legislator opined that in the first 10 months of the outgoing fiscal year, exports fell by 2.3% while imports increased by 19.88%. Moreover, the services sector of economy shared 60 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
The minister highlighted that the foreign reserves stood at $21 billion as Pakistan’s economic uplift was being lauded by international monetary organisations.
‘The per capita income stood at 1629 USD per year with an increase of 22 percent as compared to the last year’ claimed the minister and said that the sectors including wheat, cotton, maize and rice saw much betterment.
‘Cotton production remained 10.6 million bales this year as compared to 9.92 million bales last year’ the report read.
The country’s thriving banking sector witnessed 16.2 percent growth whereas national fiscal deficit was recorded at $ 7.5 billion which was reduced to 4.2 percent by the government. The production of wheat was recorded at 25.75 million tonnes compared to 25.63 million tonnes last year whereas Sugarcane and Rice production swelled by 4.12 percent.
The total debts as per March 2017 estimates were recorded at Rs 20872 billion that rose from Rs 14318 billion when compared to 2013 however according to the lawmaker, they were less than 60 percent of GDP.
“Public debt was at 53.1% of GDP in 2008. It went up to 60.2% of GDP and it is now at 59.3% of GDP.” vowed the minister and said Pakistan would soon become a part of G-20 nations.
‘The foreign exchange reserves of the country were recorded at Rs 16.15 billion dollars’ said Ishaq Dar and added that the interest rate was being maintained at 5.75 percent.
Dar said the current account deficit, a new source of worry for economic managers, is estimated to widen to $8.3 billion by the end of the outgoing fiscal year. The amount stood at $2.5 billion in the previous fiscal year, a staggering increase that Dar attributed to import of CPEC projects-related machinery.
He said the import of heavy machinery surged 70%, textile sector showed a 23% increase while the construction (67%) and agriculture (37%) were also responsible for the increasing import bill.
Ishaq Dar maintained that the home-grown industries will be able to help boost country’s economy and said ‘We won’t need to go to the IMF anymore after 2019’.
Regarding Gas and Electricity transmission, he expressed that 3.4 percent growth was recorded in this sector.
Highlighting the efforts made by the incumbent government regarding uplifting economy, Dar claimed that pakistan’s economy would surpass that of Italy, Canada and Korea by year 2050.
Ishaq Dar will present the budget for the next fiscal year in the National Assembly on Friday whereas a session of the Senate will also be held at the Parliament House in Islamabad on the same day.