KARACHI: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Friday said with the government's positive measures all major microeconomic indicators are moving in the right direction and the country's economy will post a 5 percent GDP rate by the end of this fiscal year.
Addressing the business community at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) at the Federation House, Dar said Pakistan's current population growth needs some 7 percent GDP rate to create new job opportunities. "As the Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) has performed well during the initial months of this fiscal year, Pakistan will achieve some 5 percent GDP growth by the end of June 2017," he added.
He said in consultation with the FPCCI and other stakeholders, the government is taking new measurers to support the economy particularly agricultural and industrial sector. The federal government has given a mega package for agricultural sector earlier this fiscal year, while recently the Prime Minister has also announced Rs 180 billion relief package for textile sector to enhance exports.
As the energy crisis was hampering the industrial growth, the government has initiated several new power projects and some 25,000 megawatt electricity will be added to the system by 2018. Of this, some 5,000 megawatt power projects have been initiated under the CPEC, while the remaining projects were initiated by the government with the support of international financial insinuations.
"We want to make Pakistan more stronger and self reliance, however we couldn't do this without support of business community, therefore we requested the business community and all stakeholders to come forward and support the government to make Pakistan an economic tiger," he added.
He said Dec 2016 is much different than Dec 2013, when the country was facing worst law and order situation, energy crisis and lower GDP growth, besides threats of default. Now the economy is growing well with improved law and order situation, of which foreign investors are coming back and Pakistan is being declared the second choice for investment.
"Renowned world economic forums are now acknowledging Pakistan a most favourite country for the investment and international experts are estimating that Pakistan will be among 20 largest economies by 2050, but we are targeting its by 2030," he said.
The government is making all-out efforts to facilitate the industry and despite increasing petroleum prices in the world market, the government keeps the prices unchanged, he added.
The Minister Finance said now the government is working on "ease of doing business" to attract more foreign investment in the country. "After the CPEC agreements, other countries are approaching us for economic accords, he added. He urged the business community to support the government by paying taxes.
About the external debt, Dar said that foreign debt in real terms is lower than previous years. External debt stood at $47 billion in 2013, when the country's foreign exchange reserves were some $6 billion, while presently it stood at $57 billion when the country's foreign exchange reserves are $23 billion. It means we are in a better position to repay the external debt, he maintained
He appreciated the FPPCI's role in the policymaking saying the Federation and its leadership including S M Muneer and Zubair Tufail are frequently in touch with federal government to resolve the issues being faced by business community. He said initially the proposed textile package was only Rs 30 billion, however on the special request of Zubair Tufail, the federal government has enhanced it up to Rs 180 billion.
He congratulated United Business Group (UBG) for victory in FPCCI election and hoped that they will work together with the government for betterment of the economy and business environment in the country.
State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Ashraf Mehmood Wathra, FPCCI President Zubair Tufail, TDAP CE S M Muneer, former senior vice president Khalid Tawab, Waheed Ahmed patron in chief of PFVA, Irfan Sarwana Senior Vice President, Vice President Mirza Ishtiaq Baig , Aatam Parkash and others were also present.