Average national economic growth reaches 4.85%: Ahsan
Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Professor Ahsan Iqbal Friday said average growth of national economy remained 4.85 percent during the last five years as compared to 3 per cent growth rate during tenure of the previous government, and Pakistan become the fifth fastest emerging country among comity of the nations, showing remarkable increase of 2 percent.
The minister said while addressing a joint news conference along with Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Miftah Ismail and Minister of State for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan here.
“The Government has managed to reshape the course of national economy as per promise made in 2013 which is evident from the fact that the international rating agencies are now acknowledging Pakistan as one of the top few emerging economies of the world, who were earlier describing it a sinking economy. ”
Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Miftah Ismail announced that federal budget for the year 2018-19 would be presented in the National Assembly on April 27. “The budget will be presented on April 27 as the incumbent government’s tenure is completing on May 31, and due to start of holy month of Ramazan,” he said.
After the federal budget presentation, he said, the provinces would be able to table fiscal plans in their respective assemblies.
Miftah said the government had already consulted with parliamentary parties including PTI, PPP and MQM, and all were in agreement about the budget presentation date. Commenting on energy sector achievements, the adviser said the government had added around 12,000 MW additional electricity in the national grid, which would be fully utilized in June. Besides, arrangements have been made to add 20,000 more electricity in next two to three years in the system, which would end the load-shedding forever, he added.
From 1947 to 2013, he said, the country’s total installed power capacity was 21,000 MW and electricity production 15,000 MW, causing 18 to 20 hours a day load-shedding.
He said the government initiated a number of power generation projects, which are yielding required results.
He hoped that the target of economic growth of 6 per cent set for the current fiscal year would be achieved which mean that there would be more business activities, more jobs, and more revenues.
He said that by seeing the current pace of national economic growth, it could be easily predicted that the country economic growth would reach 7-8 percent in next few years.
Comparing macroeconomic figures with the previous government, Miftah Ismail said refinancing risk of the Domestic Debt Portfolio” was reduced through lengthening of the maturity profile as percentage of the domestic debt maturing in one year was reduced to 55.6 percent at end of June 2017 compared with 64.2 percent at end of June 2013.
“Exposure to the Interest Rate Risk” was also reduced as the percentage of public debt re-fixing in one year decreased to 47.8 percent at the end of June 2017 compared to 52.4 percent at the end of June 2013.
“Share of External Loans Maturing within One Year” was equal to around 27.7 percent of official liquid reserves at the end of June 2017 as compared with around 68.5 percent at the end of June 2013 indicating improvement in foreign exchange stability and repayment capacity,” he added.
A high growth trajectory and rapid implementation of energy and infrastructure projects has increased external sector pressure; and current account is likely to be widened around 5% of GDP in FY2017-18. He informed that the current account deficit from Jul-Jan FY18 stands at $9.16 billion explaining that the current account deficit was increased due to heavy investment in infrastrucure and energy sectors. He said regulatory duties were helping contain imports while Export Package had helped in increasing exports by 11.8 percent from July-January 2017-18 as compared to same period last year.