YOKOHAMA (APP) – Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar Sunday said Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate is expected to be above five per cent during current fiscal year with inflation slashed to single digit around 4 per cent – the lowest in 47 years.
In his address as Governor at the second business session of Annual Meeting of Board of Governors, Asian Development Bank here, chaired by Japanese Deputy Prime Minister MrTaro Aso, the Minister stated that additionally an effective resource mobilization strategy also helped in increasing tax collections by 60% over the last 3 fiscal years, a 20% average annual increase.
The government, as a result of these efforts, successfully brought down the fiscal deficit from 8.2% in FY 2013 to 4.6% in FY 2016 and projected at 4.1% for FY 2017, he added.
Despite curtailing fiscal deficit, “we have not only maintained but also significantly increased allocation to the social safety net programme from Rs. 40 billion to Rs. 117 billion and national development spending from Rs. 625 billion in FY 2013 to Rs. 1600 billion in FY 2017,” Ishaq Dar said.
“Our focus, after achieving macroeconomic stability is now on realizing sustainable, inclusive and higher growth and country’s target is to reach to GDP growth rate of 7% by FY 2019,” he added.
“Our economy continued to maintain its growth momentum above 4% for the 3rd year in a row with real GDP growing at 4.71% in FY 2016, the highest in eight years” he noted and added, “Pakistan’s economy is on the rise and we are open for business offering attractive investment opportunities.”
Referring to ADB’s 50th Anniversary – an occasion to celebrate Bank’s achievements, the Minister extended felicitations to ADB President, fellow Governors and Bank Management on their contributions towards economic development and poverty reduction in Asia-pacific region over the past 50 years.
Only in last two decades, Asia registered 7% growth rate, average per capita income increased from US$ 1600 to US$ 4980+ and based on income below $ 1.25 per day, poverty line fell from 54% to 22%, he added.
It is commendable the way President Nakao and his team is pursuing reform agenda in the setting of medium-term review, Strategy 2020, he observed maintaining, the strategy has been realigned to ensure effective implementation by streamlining business processes and undertaking organizational reforms in the wake of emerging development challenges being faced by the Asian and Pacific region.
“We also appreciate ADF-OCR merger which has enhanced ADB’s financial resources to provide greater support to developing member countries. ‘Asia Miracle’ + ‘Rapid Asia progress’ have found undoubtedly great contributor and partner in the shape of their family doctor ADB, he said.
The Minister further said they are impressed with reforms and initiatives implemented under President Nakao’s leadership and Pakistan looks forward to enhancing partnership with ADB and fellow member countries.
ADB’s initiatives for regional connectivity projects like CAREC are praiseworthy as “financial and economic integration as well as regional connectivity” is the future way forward for even better successes for Asia Pacific, he said.
Expressing gratitude to the government and people of Japan for warm reception and hospitality on the eve of 50th annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank, he congratulated President Takehito Nakao, ADB’s management and staff, on organizing a successful event in the beautiful host city of Yokohama.