Pakistan to achieve GDP growth target: Dar

Nov 30, -0001

ISLAMABAD: Federal Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar Monday expressed the hope that Pakistan would achieve its GDP growth target of 5.1 percent for the year 2014-15 as all the major economic indicators were on positive trajectory.

Addressing a press conference here, the minister said the due to prudent policies of the government, all targets would be achieve with margin.

Giving details about the performance of last six months for major economic indicators, the minister said by December 31, 2014, the country's forex reserves were over US $15 billion including $6.9 billion with commercial banks whereas $10.3 billion with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and with this Pakistan has now regained its status of member country for International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).

Dar said the revenue collection during first six months of current year were remained at Rs 1162.4 billion as compared to Rs 1031.4 billion collected during same period of last year which was higher by 13 percent despite reduction of oil prices.

He said due to massive decrease in petroleum prices the government has passed the benefit to the people by reducing the price of about Rs 26 to Rs 35 per liter during last 4 months.

"Due to the reduction of oil prices the revenue collection has decreased marginally and the government would have to bear loss of about Rs 68 billion in this regard", the minister said adding the government has increased sales tax on petroleum products by 5 percent to recover the losses and it is expected that by June 30 this year Rs 17.5 billion would be generated.

Regarding budget deficit, the minister added that budget deficit for first six months of current financial year had been recorded at 2.4 percent against the overall target of 4.9 percent for the year 2014-15.

He, however said that due to some challenges like settlement of Temporary Displaced Persons, flood affected people and anti terrorism move, the government would have to face more expenses and the budget deficit may increase during next six months.

The finance minister said home remittances during first six months against same period of last year were increased by 15.25 from $7.79 billion to $8.987 billion.

Similarly, he said the exports from the country for the period July-December 2014-15 decreased by 4.3 percent from $12.073 billion to $12.017 billion whereas the imports into the country increased by 11.68 percent from $21.671 billion to $24.203 billion.

Foreign Direct Investment, he said increased by 19.29 percent during the period July-November 2014-15 as the investment increased from $354.8 million during July-November 2013-14 to $422.8 million this year.

Dar said the inflation in the country has now come down to just over 6 percent while last year it was 8.9 percent.

On the performance of Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) growth, the minister expressed his dissatisfaction as it remained only 2 percent during the period July-October 2014-15 while it was 6.2 percent during same period of last year.

Dar said that he had already directed the Secretary ministry of Industries to take steps for the improvement of the growth.

He attributed the low growth of LSM to low production of Pakistan Steels Mills and delay in sugar crushing. - APP

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