GDP growth rate likely to go above 5pc, says Dar

YOKOHAMA (Japan): Finance Minister Ishaq Dar claimed on Sunday that gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate was expected to be above five per cent during the current fiscal year with inflation coming down to around four per cent.

In his address as governor at the second business session of the annual meeting of board of governors of the Asian Development Bank here, chaired by Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, the minister said that additionally an effective resource mobilisation strategy also helped in increasing tax collections by 60 per cent over the last three fiscal years, a 20 per cent average annual increase.

The government, as a result of these efforts, he said successfully brought down the fiscal deficit from 8.2pc in FY 2013 to 4.6pc in FY 2016 and projected at 4.1pc for FY 2017, he added.

Despite curtailing the fiscal deficit, “we have not only maintained but also significantly increased allocation to the social safety net programme from Rs40 billion to Rs117 billion and national development spending from Rs625 billion in FY 2013 to Rs1600 billion in FY 2017”, Mr Dar said.

“Our focus, after achieving macroeconomic stability is now on realising sustainable, inclusive and higher growth and the country’s target is to reach to the GDP growth rate of 7pc by FY 2019,” he added.

“Our economy continued to maintain its growth momentum of above 4pc for the 3rd year in a row with real GDP growing at 4.71pc in FY 2016, the highest in eight years,” he asserted, adding that “Pakistan’s economy is on the rise and we are open for business offering attractive investment opportunities”.

Referring to the ADB’s 50th anniversary, an occasion to celebrate the bank’s achievements, the minister extended felicitations to the ADB president, fellow governors and bank management on their contribution towards economic development and poverty reduction in the Asia-pacific region over the past 50 years.

Only in the last two decades, Asia has registered a 7pc growth rate, average per capita income increased from $1600 to $4980+ and based on income below $1.25 per day, poverty line fell from 54pc to 22pc, he added.

“It is commendable the way President Nakao and his team is pursuing reform agenda in the setting of medium-term review, Strategy 2020,” he observed maintaining that the strategy had been realigned to ensure effective implementation by streamlining business processes and undertaking organisational reforms in the wake of emerging development challenges being faced by the Asian and Pacific regions.

“We also appreciate the ADF-OCR merger which has enhanced the ADB’s financial resources to provide greater support to developing member countries. ‘Asia Miracle’ + ‘Rapid Asia progress’ have found undoubtedly great contributor and partner in the shape of their family doctor ADB,” he said.

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