ISLAMABAD, March 2 (APP): Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet Thursday reviewed key economic indicators and also
approved Rs 380 million salary for November 2016 for employees of
Pakistan Steel Mills Karachi.
The committee which met under the chairmanship of Finance Minister,
Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, was given a detailed presentation by the secretary finance on key economic indicators.
It was informed that headline inflation measured by Consumer Price
Index (CPI), Wholesale Price Index (WPI) and Sensitive Price Index
(SPI) for the month of February 2017 increased to 4.2 percent, 5.3
percent and 1.1 percent, respectively on account of increase in food
inflation by 3.7 percent, non food 4.6percent, and core 5.3 percent.
The committee reviewed the stock position and found that
stock of wheat as on February 28, 2017 was 5.52 million ton showing
sufficient quantity of local wheat for releases to mills by provincial food departments and PASSCO.
The total reported stock of sugar in the country as on
February 22, 2017 stood at 3.20 million ton while the stock of
various POL products averaged 30 days on March 1, 2017.
The committee was informed that Large Scale
Manufacturing was continuously moving upward as in November and
December the growth remained 7 percent over last year.
The sectors which showing positive growth were iron and steel
products which increased by 15.63 percent, electronics 14.35 percent, non-metallic mineral products 9.31 percent, pharmaceuticals 7.90 percent, food beverages & tobacco 6.95 percent, automobiles 6.67 percent, paper and board 5.69 percent, fertilizers 3.47 percent, rubber products 0.45 percent and textile 0.14 percent.
The committee was informed that outlook of industrial
sector was positive and encouraging as the credit to private sector
seen expansion more than 22 percent.
The industrial sector was improving due to persistent growth in
electricity generation and gas production as electricity generation
in January 2014-15 was 8,292 MW which increased to 9210 MW in
January 2015-16 and 9352 MW in January 2016-17.
Likewise the gas production also increased above 4000 MMCFD in
December 2016 compared to 2015 and 2014 which was 3627 and 3780, respectively.
The committee observed decline in wood products, leather
products, engineering products, chemicals and coke and petroleum
The committee noted that negative growth in exports
sector was bottom out in January 2017 as it registered a growth of
4.6 percent over last year.
However, on average it declined by 1.13 percent whereas imports on
average increased by 9.2 percent and on year on year increased by 28% in January 2017.
On the positive note most of the imports was coming in machinery
group showing productivity the import of the machinery registered at
42 percent of which power generating machinery 38 percent, textile 117 percent, construction and mining 101 percent.
The remittances received during July-January 2016-17
amounted to US$ 10.946 billion against US$ 11.155 billion in 2015-
16, registered decline of 1.9 percent. However, on year on year in
January it improved by 1.5 percent.
The FBR tax collections on year on year improved by 9 percent
in January and on average during July-January 2016-17, the tax
collection improved by 7.6 percent.
The committee also noted that increasing trend in
foreign direct investment that it improved by almost 10 percent during
July-January of the current year over last year. The major recipient
sectors were food, power, electricity, and construction.
The committee, however, showed concern over the widening
of current account deficit and the chair urged to increase exports
of goods and services to bridge the gap.
In consideration of the proposal submitted by the Privatization Division, ECC also approved one month’s (Nov. 2016) salary to the tune of Rs 380 million for the employees of Pakistan Steel Mills, Karachi.