Country Director World Bank for Pakistan, Najy Benhassine Thursday said the projection gap of Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate for the fiscal year 2020-21 and 2021-22 between the Bank and the Pakistan government was mainly due to uncertainties stemming out of the COVID pandemic, hoping that the final growth rate would be on the higher side.
The World Bank in its report has projected Pakistan’s GDP growth forecast for the fiscal year 2021-22 (FY22) at 3.4% against Islamabad’s target of 4.9% for the year.
Similarly, the report also quoted the GDP growth rate for FY21 at 3.5% against the government’s provisional growth rate of 3.9% in FY21.
The “October 2021 Pakistan Development Update: Reviving Exports” report shows that the country’s real GDP growth rebounded to 3.5 percent in FY2021, after contracting by 0.5 percent in FY 2020 with the onset of the global pandemic.
In addition, inflation eased, the fiscal deficit improved to 7.3 percent of GDP, and the current account deficit shrunk to 0.6 percent of GDP – the lowest in a decade.
“With effective micro-lockdowns, record-high remittance inflows and a supportive monetary policy, Pakistan’s economic growth rebounded in FY2021,” said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan while addressing a selected group of journalists here.
“These measures, together with the expansion of the Ehsaas program and support to businesses, were key to strengthening the economy and recovering from the economic fallout associated with COVID-19.”
On the occasion, Economist at World Bank Pakistan, Zehra Aslam said the provisional data issued by the government was based on nine months, which was not final.
She, however said that the World Bank was relatively late in collecting data, so once the final figures were received, the growth data would be revised later.
With respect to reforms in various sectors of Pakistan, Binhassine said the World Bank was satisfied and supporting the government’s reforms’ initiatives especially on revenue and power sides.
He said that the WB’s support to Pakistan government in GST harmonization was yielding fruits hoping that this would help increase in revenue by 1% of the GDP.
The World Bank is financing “Pakistan Raises Revenue (PRR)” programme with a $400 million IDA concessional credit. —APP