- Senator Dar says inflation slashed to the lowest in 47 years
Federal Minister for Finance Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar on Sunday said that the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate is expected to be above five per cent during current fiscal year with inflation slashed to single digit around four per cent – the lowest in 47 years.
In his address as governor at the second business session of the annual meeting of the board of governors of the Asian Development Bank here, chaired by Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, he said that additionally an effective resource mobilisation strategy also helped in increasing tax collections by 60% over the last three fiscal years, a 20% average annual increase.
The government, as a result of these efforts, successfully brought down the fiscal deficit from 8.2% in FY 2013 to 4.6% in FY 2016 and projected at 4.1% for FY 2017, he added. Despite curtailing fiscal deficit, “we have not only maintained but also significantly increased allocation to the social safety net programme from Rs 40 billion to Rs 117 billion and national development spending from Rs 625 billion in FY 2013 to Rs 1600 billion in FY 2017,” he said.
“Our focus, after achieving macroeconomic stability is now on realising sustainable, inclusive and higher growth and country’s target is to reach to GDP growth rate of seven percent by FY 2019,” he added. “Our economy continued to maintain its growth momentum above four percent for the third year in a row with real GDP growing at 4.71% in FY 2016, the highest in eight years” he noted.
“Pakistan’s economy is on the rise and we are open for business offering attractive investment opportunities.” Referring to ADB’s 50th anniversary – an occasion to celebrate bank’s achievements, the minister extended felicitations to the ADB president, fellow governors and bank management on their contributions towards economic development and poverty reduction in Asia-pacific region over the past 50 years.
Only in last two decades, Asia registered seven percent growth rate, average per capita income increased from $1600 to $4980+ and based on income below $1.25 per day, poverty line fell from 54% to 22%, 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.
The strategy has been realigned to ensure effective implementation by streamlining business processes and undertaking organizational reforms in the wake of emerging development challenges being faced by the Asian and Pacific region. “We also appreciate ADF-OCR merger which has enhanced ADB’s financial resources to provide greater support to developing member countries.
Asia Miracle plus Rapid Asia progress have found undoubtedly great contributor and partner in the shape of their family doctor ADB, he said. The minister further said that they were impressed with reforms and initiatives implemented under President Nakao’s leadership and Pakistan looks forward to enhancing partnership with ADB and fellow member countries.
ADB’s initiatives for regional connectivity projects like CAREC are praiseworthy as “financial and economic integration as well as regional connectivity” is the future way forward for even better successes for Asia Pacific, he said.