APP79-26 ISLAMABAD: April 26 – Federal Minister of Planning, Development & Reforms Prof. Ahsan Iqbal and Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr. Miftah Ismail addressing during launching ceremony of Pakistan Economic Survey for 2017-18. APP photo by Irshad Sheikh

ISLAMABAD, Apr 26 (APP):Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Miftah Ismail said that the macroeconomic indicators had shown satisfactory performance during the outgoing fiscal year as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate was recorded at the all time high in 13 years at 5.8 %.
Unveiling the Economic Survey for the year 2017-18, he said during the first nine months of current fiscal year, the agriculture sector’s growth rate remained 3.8%, manufacturing sector’s growth was 5.8%, services sector witnessed 6.4% growth rate while Large Scale Manufacturing grew by 6.25%.
“The government has succeeded to contain inflation rate at 3.8 % while current year will end with around 4.5 % inflation,” he said adding the deficit which was 8.2 % in 2013 will remain at 5.5 % by the end of current fiscal year.
He said revenues of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will be around Rs 3935 billion by the end of year, while the revenues in 2013 were only Rs 1980 billion.
However, the net debt to GDP ratio, he said had increased from 60.2 % to 61.4 % now.
He said the external debt to GDP ratio remained 20.5 % which was low as compared to the ratio
of 21.14 % in 2013.
“Our current expenditures have declined while the development expenditures have increased considerably,” he said adding, “We have added 12000 MW to national grid in five years, we completed the long awaited projects such as Neelum Jehlum power project and Lowari Tunnel project, which were lingering for decades and we also concluded Tarbela-IV project.”
The Adviser said these development expenditures were now giving positive results as the country witnessed the highest growth rate of 5.8 % in 13 years.
He said the weak point remained the declining exports during first four years, however he informed that with the start of current calendar year, the exports have captured the upward trend as during March only, 24 % growth of exports were recorded compared to same month of the year 2017.
To a question regarding opposition’s demand for presenting the budget for only three months, Ismail said it was totally irrational and not workable.
“We will need a foreign loan of around $1.8 billion during the next year so how can we make a commitment with the international financial institutions for only three months,” he said adding for mega projects like Diamir Bhasha Dam, it was not possible to allocate budget for three months only.
Similarly, he said, changes in tax regime and increase in salaries of government employees also could not be announced for only one quarter of the year.
He said keeping in view the upcoming general election, the government has kept aside the block allocation of around Rs 100 billion for the new government, which could introduce new projects of its own choice.