Economic Survey a pre-budget document released

Islamabad: Economic Survey a pre-budget document released on Tuesday afternoon says the GDP growth rate for the outgoing year would remain at 3.6% as against the targeted 4.3%.

Launching the Survey at a news conference‚ Minister for Finance Senator Ishaq Dar said average GDP growth rate during the last 5 years remained at 3 %‚ which is pathetic in view of 2.1% population growth. He said that the previous PMLN government touched the figure of 7% GDP growth rate and it is their resolve to take it back to the same level in the intermediate term. The Minister said the country missed almost all the targets in different sectors of the economy. There would be a shortfall of 350 billion rupees in the FBR tax collection target of 2381 billion for the outgoing year, he added.

Finance Minister said that the agriculture sector grew by 3.3% as against the target of 4.1% and the services sector 3.7% as against the targeted 4.3%. Large-scale manufacturing however was positive as its growth is expected to be 2.8% as against 2% target for the year. Investment to GDP was targeted at 13.3% but it would be 12.6% for the year. National Savings also showed an upward trend as the growth rate was 13.5% as against 12.8%.

Ishaq Dar said circular debt has assumed alarming proportions as it has crossed 500 billion rupees despite injection of 1400 billion by the Government as subsidies during the last about five years. He said an aggressive plan has been prepared to take the issue of circular debt head on and it would be eliminated within sixty days. He said as of today 6.2 billion dollars worth of foreign exchange reserves are with the State Bank besides those with the commercial banks.

The Finance Minister said a road map has been prepared for economic revival as economy is as big a challenge as terrorism.

He said licenses for 3G spectrum of mobile phone would be auctioned in a transparent manner so that the mobile industry grows further creating more employment opportunities. The Minister said tax net would be expanded and appealed to all citizens to pay their due taxes. He said currently tax to GDP ratio is 8.9%‚ which is on the lowest side.

The Survey said that the country’s public debt reached to 13‚626 billion rupees by end March this year which is 59.5% of GDP as compared with 59.8% during the same period last year. The composition of public debt has witnessed major changes over past few years with increasing reliance on domestic debt due to nonavailability of sufficient funds from external sources.

The total domestic debt increased by 1‚159 billion or 15% during first nine months of the current financial year. External debt and liabilities stock was recorded at 60.9 billion dollar by end March this year. The Survey said exports increased by 27% in 201011 and touched a record level of 25.4 billion dollar. There was a slight shortfall of 4.7% in exports during 201112 due to external factors.

The Survey revealed that Pakistan is sixth most populous country in the world with an estimated population of 184.35 million. The country has a labour force of 57.24 million people which is 0.91 million more than the last year. The unemployment rate has increased to 6.0 percent in 201011. It stated performance of Pakistan Railway and PIA was not encouraging mainly due to the heavily burdened administrative and management expenditure. Performance of Ports and Shipping sector was encouraging despite a depressed shipping scenario worldwide.