Growth beyond expectations

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THE country’s economy has performed beyond expectations with all major macroeconomic indicators showing positive trend amid the Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in a 3.94 per cent economic growth rate this fiscal year, compared to a revised negative 0.47pc in 2019-20.

The growth figures came as a surprise as the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had estimated GDP growth at 3pc, while the Finance Ministry’s projection was slightly on the lower side.

The growth projection of multilateral donors including the International Monetary Fund and World Bank was between 1.3pc and 1.5pc for the fiscal year 2020-21.

For a number of years, the services sector was a major reason for economic growth in the country and it has witnessed a growth of 4.43pc this year. The agriculture sector posted a paltry 2.77pc growth, while industrial output grew 3.57pc.

These figures were framed in the 103rd meeting of the National Accounts Committee, chaired by Planning, Development and Reform Secretary Hamed, to review the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Some economists are optimistic that the revised GDP for the current fiscal year might go up further and could stand in the range of 4.7 percent to five percent largely because of unprecedented growth being witnessed in the Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM).

These growth figures are no less than a feat as all this has been achieved despite the negative impact of the pandemic.

This speaks volume that despite all the criticism from opponents, the government pursued the right policies such as of incentivizing different sectors to keep the economy on the right track.

Given the size of our population, no effort should be spared to achieve the target of six to seven per cent growth for the next fiscal year.

This is very much achievable if the government accelerates spending on the development projects apart from focusing on the industrial and agriculture sectors.

There has been a good wheat crop this year but the declining cotton crop on which our whole textile industry depends is really worrisome. The farmers should be encouraged and given incentives to grow cotton.

Then we have to move toward hi-tech industry in order to sustain a high growth rate for years to come.