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PR No. 284 HIGHEST GROWTH OF 5.28 PERCENT IN A DECADE, SIZE OF THE ECONOMY SURPASSES $300 BILLION FINANCE MINISTER LAUNCHES ECONOMIC SURVEY Islamabad

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, hereon Thursday launched the Pakistan Economic Survey 2016-17.

While addressing a Press Conference the Minister congratulated the nation that Pakistan has achieved the highest annual growth of 5.28 percent in a decade and the size of the economy has surpassed $300 billion. The 5.28 percent growth is achieved on the back of recovery in the agriculture sector and better than expected performance in the services sector along with consistent growth in industrial sector.

The agriculture sector growth remains impressive this year. The production of important crops like wheat, rice, sugar, maize remained encouraging and cotton production also remained higher than last year which helped in agriculture growth. This was on account of supportive agriculture policies, healthy agriculture credit disbursement and other supportive measures provided to the agriculture sector. The PM Kissan Package has started yielding the dividend in agriculture sector.

It was also informed that the government has been able to anchor the inflation at 4.1% during first ten month of current year and is likely to contain it much below the annual  target of 6% despite reversal in global commodities and oil prices. The government on the social sector also remained vigilant to reach the poor and destitute class by providing cash grant under BISP. The cash grant increased to Rs.115 billion during current fiscal year.

The per capital income has increased over last year by 7.4% to US dollar 1628.   The LSM sector recorded impressive growth of 10.46% in March 2017  largely benefitted from accommodative monetary and fiscal policies, improvement in energy supplies, better availability of raw material, rising domestic demand, particularly for cement and steel owing to increase in development spending in power and infrastructure projects.

The performance of the services sector remained very encouraging as it posted a growth of 5.98% on the back of better output in agriculture and industrial sector.  The finance and insurance growth remained above 10% on the back of improvement in asset base reaching all time high to Rs.15.8 trillion and capital adequacy ratio increased to 16.2%.

The Pakistan’s public debt dynamics witnessed various positive developments during first nine months of current year as government continued to adhere to the targets set forth in Medium Term Debt Management Strategy (MTDS) to ensure public debt sustainability and weighted average interest rate on the domestic debt portfolio has been further reduced while cost of external debt contracted by the government which is not only economical but is also dominated by long term funding.

The Minister while addressing the press conference stated after successful operation of Zarb-e-Azb, a country-wide operation Radd-ul-Fassad has been launched for eliminating further any extremism. In this backdrop, success in counter-terrorism has played a critical role in creating conducive economic environment whose results have now started appearing in terms of growth across different segments of the economy.

The capital market has reached the historical height above 52000 index. In terms of market capitalisation it has reached to Rs. 10.4 trillion. The reserves have been strengthened enough to cover more than 3 months of imports despite the government paid off loans obtained by the previous governments.

The Minister stated that we are not complacent of this economic turnaround but we are looking towards a higher inclusive growth trajectory above 6% to absorb the growing labour force  and are determined to provide decent and respectable standard of living to the people.

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