ISLAMABAD: Despite several internal and external challenges, Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar said the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) recorded eight years highest growth of 4.71 percent during the outgoing fiscal year (2015-16).
“The growth target would have been much better had there not been 28% negative growth in cotton production this year,” Dar said while launching the Economic Survey of Pakistan for the outgoing fiscal year here Thursday afternoon.
He was flanked by Secretary Finance Division Dr. Waqar Masood and other senior officials of the ministry.
The minister said that the cotton production decreased by 28 percent which inflicted loss of 0.5 percent to the country’s overall GDP growth.
The finance minister said that the performance of overall agriculture sector witnessed decline of 0.19 percent against the target of 3.9 percent, and the main cause that hit the growth was low cotton production.
However, despite this decline, the GDP growth remained on growth path and increased to the eight years highest level, he added.
Dar said the other sectors of economy performed well as the industrial sector witnessed growth of 6.8 percent compared to the growth of 4.81 percent during last year.
Similarly, the mining and qurray sector witnessed increase of 6.8 percent compared to the growth of 3.97 percent.
The minister said that the current account deficit during July-April was recorded at $1.52 billion, 0.6 percent of GDP compared to $1.85 billion or 0.8 percent of GDP during last year.
He said that the workers’ remittances during July-April stood at $16.03 percent and expressed the hope that the target of $19 billion would be achieved this year.
Dar said that the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) increased by 5.4 percent to $1.02 billion compared to $960 million last year.
This investment was made in power, oil and gas, financial services and communication sectors.
The Wholesale and Retail sector also witnessed positive growth of 4.57 percent compared to 2.3 percent last year, he said and attributed the growth to the improving law and order situation in Karachi, coupled with low inflation and monetary policy.
He said that the Finance and Insurance sector also grew by 7.84 percent, compared to 6.48 percent last year.
The minister said that the Railway earnings have also witnessed increase of 13.8 percent during the current year.
The Consumer Price Index for May 2016, he said, was recorded at 3.2 percent while from July-to May it was recorded at 2.8 percent.
The minister said that the inflation during the current fiscal year would remain below 3 percent which stood at 4.65 percent during the last year.
The minister said that Core Inflation on year-on-year basis stood at 4.56 percent and 4.13 percent during July-May (2015-16).
The minister said that the exports from the country declined by 9.6 percent in terms of prices, however in terms of quantity, the exports of various commodities increased.
He said that decline in international oil prices had affected the commodity market.
He said that the exports from the country during first ten months of the current fiscal year were recorded at $20.1 billion, compared to $18.1 billion during the same period of last year.
He said that the imports into country also witnessed decline of 4.6 percent, which is welcome sign.
The imports during the first ten months of the current fiscal year were recorded at $32.72 billion, compared to $34.32 billion during last year.
Talking about the next growth target, the minister said that after thorough deliberations, the growth target for the fiscal year 2016-17 have been fixed at 5.7 percent.
He said that for boosting the growth rate, the government would announce special package for agriculture sector during the budget to be announced on Friday, June 3.-APP