Decade’s highest growth of 5.3% achieved in 2016-17: Dar

APP32-25 ISLAMABAD: May 25 – Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar showing Pakistan Economic Survey 2016-17 to media persons during launching ceremony. APP photo by Irshad Sheikh

ISLAMABAD, May 25 (APP): Despite several internal and external challenges, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) recorded ten years highest growth of 5.3 percent during the outgoing fiscal year (2016-17).

“The growth rate was just 3 percent in 2013, which has now risen to 5.3 percent and this growth is also being acknowledged at the world level,” Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar said while launching Pakistan Economic Survey for the outgoing fiscal year (2016-17) here at “P” block auditorium Thursday afternoon.

He said that the overall size of country’s economy has crossed the threshold of $300 billion during the current year, which was a healthy sign.

Keeping in view the current growth rate, the GDP growth rate target for the upcoming year (2017-18) has been fixed at 6 percent, the minister, said hoping that the target would not only be achieved but also exceeded.

He said that during the outgoing year (2016-17), the agriculture sector posted a growth of 3.5 per cent, which was a positive sign and attributed the growth to incentive package announced in the last budget to the farmers.

The minister said that policy rate has been reduced to 5.75 percent, which was at the lowest level in last 45 years.

Ishaq Dar said that the agriculture sector showed
significant growth of 3.46 percent, cotton production grew by 7.6 percent, wheat by 0.5 percent, rice 0.7 percent, sugarcane 4.4 percent and maize 16.3 percent.

The livestock sector, he said, witnessed growth of 3.43
percent, while fishing and forestry sector grew by 1.23 percent and 14.49 percent respectively.

Dar said the large scale manufacturing grew by 5.06
percent compared to 4.64 percent last year.

He said the headline inflation consumer price index (CPI)
averaged at 4.1 percent during July-April 2017 against target of 6 percent, showing that inflation will remain below the target.

He said during the current fiscal year, Pakistan’s imports
showed rising trend at relatively fastest rate (18.7 percent) due to increased economic activity as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. He said that as per the estimates the import by end of this fiscal year would remain at $45.4 billion.

The finance minister said remittances reached $14.1 billion
compared to $14.4 billion last year, adding that the capital and financial accounts recorded surplus of $5.1 billion, which was significantly higher than the surplus of $3.6 billion last year.

In October of fiscal year 2017, he said, foreign exchange reserves hit all time high at $24.3 billion of which net reserves with State Bank of Pakistan were $18.93 billion and scheduled bank $5.10 billion.

The high level of foreign exchange reserves, a sign of economic stability, has been achieved due to deep-rooted and comprehensive foreign policies and reforms, undertaken by the government.

The minister said the foreign direct investment grew by 12.4 percent and reached $1.6 billion in a nine-month period.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said Pakistan has seen a visible
turnaround over the last four years due to successful implementation of a comprehensive programme of economic revival.

He said the government took a number of growth-oriented
measures to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth, adding that the initiatives included National Power Policy, Kissan Package, Automotive Policy, Textile Policy, Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2015-18, Domestic Resource Mobilization Strategy, Public Sector Entity Reforms Strategy, CPEC and National Financial inclusion

Talking about fiscal development, the minister said, the
government focused on correcting the fiscal imbalances by adopting prudent expenditures management and revenue mobilization strategy.

Overall fiscal deficit narrowed to 4.6 percent of GDP in FY
2016, reflecting sustainable consolidation since FY2013. The minister said that during July-March FY2016-17, fiscal deficit stood at 3.9 percent of GDP.

The minister said that during July-March FY17, total
expenditures stood at Rs4,383.6 billion (13.8 percent of GDP) against Rs3,971.3 billion (13.6 percent of GDP) in the same period of last year.

The current expenditure stood at Rs3,605.1 billion during the first nine months against Rs3,407 billion last year while the development expenditure and net lending amounted to Rs769.6 billion compared to Rs710.2 billion last year.

The expenditures under PSDP have posted a growth of 19.8
percent and reached to Rs746.6 billion in nine months compared to Rs623.4 billion last year.

Total revenues, Dar said, are expected to reach Rs5,347.1
billion, of which the tax revenues are budgeted to remain at
Rs4,306.1 billion and non-tax revenues at Rs1,041 billion during the current year.

He added that during the period from July-March, total
revenues stood at Rs3,145.5 billion against Rs2,961.9 billion in the same period of last year, showing growth of 6.2 percent.

The minister said that keeping in view the macroeconomic
stability during July-March, SBP maintained the policy rate at 5.75 percent, which is the lowest rate since early 1970s.
The minister said that Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) has been ranked first in Asia and fifth best performing market in the world in year 2016 as assessed by Bloomberg, adding that PSX touched 53,000 level on May

The market capitalization increased from Rs7,588.47 billion on June 30, 2016 to Rs10,044.07 billion on May 8, 2017, he said adding that the market outperformed during the current year among leading global stock markets, more specially in Asian region.

Talking about the social safety nets, the minister said that
government has prioritized 17 pro-poor sectors through the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). Expenditure on pro-poor sectors in 2012-13 was Rs1913.3 billion and as 8.5 percent of GDP.

During 2015-16, total expenditures of these sectors reached to Rs2,694.7 billion, which was 9.3 percent of GDP.
The minister said that during the nine months of the current fiscal year, Rs1,017.5 billion expenditures have been made in these sectors.

He said that the number of beneficiaries in BISP has increased from 1.7 million in FY2009 to 5.42 million this year, adding the disbursements increased from Rs16 billion in FY2009 to Rs115 billion this year.

He said that the government had also special focus on
education, health and nutrition and a number of programmes have been implemented during the outgoing fiscal year for the development of these sectors.