Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission Mr. Sartaj Aziz participated as chief guest in second National Conference on Emerging Macroeconomic issues in Pakistan; challenges and future perspectives organized by National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad.
Mr. Sartaj Aziz while praising the efforts of the organizers of the conference said that National Conferences, on macroeconomic issues, would be beneficial in identifying challenges and the future perspectives of economic growth. He said that most positive indicator for Pakistan’s economy is GDP growth of 5.3% in previous financial year which is the highest in last 9 years. Moreover, the main indicators of first quarter of 2017-2018 with respect to large scale manufacture and agriculture are encouraging. He added that the overall GDP growth rate this year expected to be close to the target of 6%.
Mr. Aziz said that inflation rate in past three years has been 4.5, 2.9 and 4.2% compared to 8% in the preceding years and this is partly due to the decrease in oil prices but increase in revenues has also contributed to lower inflation. He also said that the consolidated fiscal deficit as a percent of GDP has declined from 8.2% in 2012-13 to 5% in the past two years and tax to GDP ratio has also gone up from 9% to 12.5% during this period. Against these positive indicators, the balance of payment situation has deteriorated. As exports declined to USD 21.7 billion from USD 24.7 billion in 2016-17 while imports have jumped from USD 40.2 billion to USD 48.5 billion in the same period. However, government has taken measures to reduce imports and encourage exports to improve the balance of payment.
While highlighting the two major achievements he said that the visible improvement in security situation and virtual resolution of energy crisis have helped to revive investment which is evident from the record flow of Rs.748 billion as credit to the private sector in current fiscal year. Interest rates are also lowest and stable. Many credit rating agencies have upgraded Pakistan’s ranking.
Mr. Aziz said that another important landmark is the China Pakistan Economic Corridor which will bring in investment of almost USD 60 billion in the next 8 to 10 years for energy and infrastructure. This would help end electricity shortfall and provide reliable support for domestic economic activities and exports. Moreover, the Special Economic Zones alongside of CPEC routes offering exemptions and ease of business will facilitate domestic and foreign investment.