ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister Hammad Azhar backing GDP growth number (3.94%) during the current financial year has presented justifications to prove the authenticity of the data concerned and the main head of the opposition expressing doubts about the calculations of the governments’ economic team. Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif and others have declared these numbers fabricated.
In a well-attended press conference, Hammad stated that this government believes in transparency and by end of this fiscal year GDP growth will be 4%.
Economic Growth 2020-2021
He further stated that The National Accounts Committee (CNA), a body representing all stakeholders, including provincial representatives from crop reporting services, the bureau of statistics and senior economists, has estimated that the economy will grow at 3.94 % in 2020-2021. This is not one man decision or controlled by finance ministry.
Opposition leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and other opposition leaders including Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari have called the figures released by the government false.
Speaking to Twitter, Mr Sharif said the PML-N left the growth rate at 5.8% at the end of his term. He went on to say that the PTI government also exaggerated the original figures by 1.9 to 3.3% in its first year of government.Shehbaz claims government released figures are wrong
He accused Prime Minister Imran Khan of running the country just for his friends. The PTI government put 5 million people out of work, 20 million people fell into the worst poverty, he said.
Planning Minister Asad Umar respond to questions raised about the health of CNA figures.
Now is not the time to tell the committee what to announce, Mr Umar said in response to Mr Sharifs’ tweet in which the latter pointed out that questions were also asked at the meeting of the CNA, which proved that the statistics were not correct.
Mr Umar said questions had been raised in the apolitical trade committee, the data had been reviewed and a unanimous decision had been made. You can’t believe how Imran Khan revived the economy you destroyed, despite Covid-19, he added.
Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, also used his Twitter handle to comment on the CNA figures.
Mr Tarin said Pakistan has experienced strong V-shaped growth despite being in a tough International Monetary Fund (IMF) program.
The IMF program was necessitated by an unsustainable current account deficit and dwindling foreign currency reserves, in addition to a vicious Covid 19 pandemic.
This is the result of our prudent economic policies despite the negative impact of Covid-19, the minister said while sharing his government’s economic outlook at a press conference.
The minister said that this was not a temporary growth, but that it would be sustained and strengthened in the years to come.
At the start of 2020-2021, the IMF estimated GDP growth at 1 pc and the SBP (State Bank of Pakistan) at 2 pc; then SBP improved its forecasts to 3% and the IMF to 1.5%. He said improved projections come with the arrival of new data.
He said several economic research entities and analysts had predicted economic growth of 4% this year despite the challenges posed by Covid-19. And they made that prediction several months ago and before official estimates, he added.
Mr Azhar said large-scale manufacturing rose 9% in the first nine months of the current year, and the country’s exports were recorded at $ 3.2 billion in March. He said merchandise exports have remained at over $ 2 billion for seven straight months. Exports are expected to exceed $ 25 billion and hit a record high.
The minister said foreign exchange reserves reached the level of $ 23 billion, the highest level in five years since December 2016. And remittances grew by 39% during the year. Ongoing in July-April to reach $ 24.2 billion. He said more than $ 2 billion in remittances had been received for 11 consecutive months.
The rupee has appreciated 9% since August 2020, from 168 rupees to 153 rupees and ranked as the best performing currency in the past three months, he said.
He said the current account had a surplus of $ 959 million in July-March 2021.
He said the sale of cement and automobiles increased during the review period as better crop prices benefited the farming community.
In response to a question, he said the government had formulated a plan to address the circular debt problem.
Speaking to Minister of State for Finance and Revenue, Dr Waqar Masood Khan said questions were asked during the meeting and were then addressed by those concerned.
He said the SBP’s projection of 3% GDP growth was based on past agricultural production figures. Revised crop figures, especially over 27 million wheat production, were shared with meeting attendees, he said, adding that figures continued to be updated at the provincial agriculture level. .
Provincial agriculture department crop reporting services shared the updated figures with the CNA meeting. No one expected the highest growth figures ever for wheat, he said.
He said the SBP projection was based on an estimate and that actual and updated data was now available.
On IMF and World Bank estimates, Dr Waqar said multilateral donors are keeping growth rates lower. He said that in the latest IMF program, the growth rate was projected to be between 1.5% and 2%, but the economy actually grew by 4% in 2013.
He said multilateral donors do not have their own data and rely on data provided by the Pakistani government. He said the Federal Board of Revenue posted 6% growth in the first six months, while it rose 16% in the four months of the second half.
The growth in revenue collection shows that economic activities are taking place in the country, Dr Waqar said.
Despite the global economic downturn Pakistani economy has shown a remarkable recovery: khusro Bakhtiar
The recovery of LSM continued to expand at 9.29% growth, the highest since 2011, which will drive the overall growth of the industrial sector.
He said large-scale economic recovery amid a pandemic is the result of successful economic policies by governments to revive industry and agricultural sectors through fiscal stimulus and construction.
Thanks to the agricultural package, the country produced the largest amount of wheat and sugar cane, thus improving the cost of living in rural areas. The boom in the construction sector will help achieve an economic growth rate of 5% in the next fiscal year. The industrial sector will continue to lead economic growth, he added.
Achieving 4% GDP growth along with other positive indicators and macroeconomic stability during a global recession is a huge achievement- Omar Ayub
He further added, this is the government’s success and it has proven that all critics are wrong.