Agri growth package to be announced in next FY: Dar

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Mian Arshad

Islamabad—The Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Thursday, said that the government would announce a package for growth in the agriculture sector in the next fiscal year despite wheat production increased from 25.08 million tons to 25.48 million tons
He further said that country had made significant achievement in industrial sector where growth rate which was recorded at 6.8pc against the target of 6.4pc. Similarly, the services sector also grew in outgoing fiscal year.
While addressing a news conference to launch the Economic Survey for the financial year 2015-16, a day ahead of presenting the national budget for the fiscal year 2016-17, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar rejoiced over increased volume of revenue collection.
He said that revenue collection increased by 10.4pc in the first nine months of the fiscal year ending June 30. Exports through April slowed by 9pc year-on-year to $18.8 billion, weighed down by crop failures production of main export cotton,
He observed that the current account deficit through March eased a bit to $1.6 billion, or 0.6 percent of GDP, according to ministry figures and the current account deficit number was $1.52 billion. Foreign direct investment through April was $1.03 billion, compared with $907 million the same period of the last fiscal year.
Shedding light on macroeconomic performance achieved by the country in outgoing financial year, he said that the government missed GDP target largely due to poor performance in agriculture sector.
The agriculture sector witnessed decreased by 0.19pc, missing the growth target, which was set at 3.9pc.The country missed target in the agriculture sector due to 28pc decline in cotton crop, adding that the government announced Rs600 billion Kissan package during the current fiscal year. Budget deficit for the current year remained 1.52 billion dollars.
Dar said Foreign Direct Investment increased by 5.4pc and most of it took place in oil and gas sector. “Exports in last 10 months stood at $18.18 billion,” he said, adding that 10-month import bill stands at $32.75 billion while foreign remittances stood at $16.03 billion in 10 months
Commenting on the fall of exports, which have gone down to $18.18 billion (10MFY16), Dar said the quantity had gone up overall. However, the decrease in commodity and oil prices has meant the return has been low.

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