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Khalid Mustafa

The News

Published Date: Dec 10, 2014

Pakistan experienced remarkable economic recovery in short period, says Dar

 

ISLAMABAD:
Pakistan has undergone a remarkable economic recovery in a short period
of time – a fact widely acknowledged by independent analysts,
particularly international financial institutions, said Finance Minister
Ishaq Dar.

 

The minister was speaking at the three-day
Sustainable Development Conference. Talking about the key achievements
of the government in 18 months, the minister said that economic growth,
which had averaged around three percent in the preceding five years, has
been estimated at 4.14 percent for 2013-14 as per the provisional
estimates, as compared to 3.7 percent in 2012-13. This is the highest
growth in the last six years. Similarly, per capita income, which stood
at $1,340 in 2012-13, has increased to $1,386, showing a growth of 3.5
percent.

Dar said inflation which had averaged around 12
percent in the five years before the PML-N government, was recorded at
8.6 percent for 2013-14. Despite undertaking significant fiscal
adjustment and enhancing tax recovery, said Dar, CPI was recorded at 5.8
percent for October 2014 and four percent for November 2014 – the
lowest in 11 years. The minister said that low FBR revenues, which
showed a meagre three percent growth in 2012-13, were up by 16.44
percent in 2013-14. During July-November 2014-15, FBR revenue registered
a growth of 12.7 percent over the previous year. FBR revenue during
this period stood at Rs901.55 billion as compared to Rs799.87 billion
last year. Remittances were recorded at $6.078 billion during
July-October 2014-15 against $5.276 billion in 2013-14, an increase of
15.21 percent.

The minister also listed several other
achievements of the government, including the raising of $2 billion
through Eurobonds; raising $1 billion through International sukuk bonds
as well as the successful auction of 3G-4G licences. Nearly $1.2 billion
were raised via the auction while the government still has two licences
to sell. Dar also cited the resumption of programme lending by the
World Bank and Asian Development Bank, which has enabled Pakistan to
access some $1.5 billion from these institutions during the year. He
also hinted at the construction of a terminal at Port Qasim to import
LNG, which will likely receive LNG soon.

The minister said
international think tanks and research groups have recognised
Pakistan’s impressive economic turnaround in these past 18 months. JETRO
declared Pakistan as likely to be the 2nd choicest place for FDI;
Goldman Sachs forecasted that Pakistan which is currently at 44th
position would be world’s 18th largest economy by 2050; OICCI raised
Pakistan’s index from negative 34 to positive 2; Moody’s raised the
country’s economic outlook from negative to positive; and in Neilsen’s
Global Survey of Consumer Confidence, Pakistan’s index rose to 99 in the
first quarter of 2014 from the lowest level of 86 in the third quarter
of 2011, Dar added.

He said economic recovery and the
prosperity of Pakistan would play an important role in the region. “We
are keen to settle our disputes with India so that the two countries can
focus on building economic relations. We are expanding our economic
ties with China by building the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor (CPEC)
that will link Gwadar to Kashgar, both through railways as well as
highways. In addition, MoUs have been signed with China for energy
projects.

In Afghanistan, said Dar, Pakistan has supported
the electoral process and welcomed the resolution of the election
dispute between the two presidential candidates and eventual transition
of power to a new democratic government.

“We have also
welcomed the signing of the US-Afghanistan Bilateral Security Agreement
(BSA), which we believe, will contribute to stability in the wake of
withdrawal of International security assistance Forces (ISAF) from
Afghanistan. Likewise, Iran is a very important neighbour with whom we
not only share a very long border but also, like Afghanistan, strong
cultural and religious ties. Pakistan will benefit immensely as it will
pave the way for the construction of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline,
where India can also join eventually. We have concluded the 19th session
of the Pakistan-Iran Joint Economic Commission and have taken a number
of decisions aimed at closer bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

The
minister said that apart from contributing to the regional economy
through cooperation, Pakistan is actively promoting a number of projects
that will enhance regional connectivity and joint exploitation of
regional resources. Three projects are notable in this regard. The
CASA-1000 is the Central Asia-South Asia electric power transmission
project that will transmit already available surplus power to
power-deficient countries Pakistan and Afghanistan. At a cost of $1
billion, the 1,222-km transmission line will originate in Kyrgyz
Republic and pass through Tajikistan and Afghanistan and terminate in
Pakistan. It will supply 1,300 MW of power, 300 MW for Afghanistan and
1000 MW for Pakistan.

Dar also noted that Pakistan is a
critical part of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas
pipeline project, which will supply natural gas from Turkmenistan to
Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Third, he said, is the Central Asia
Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) which is a partnership of 10
countries (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic,
Mongolia, Pakistan, China, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan),
supported by six multilateral institutions working together to promote
development through cooperation, leading to accelerated growth and
poverty reduction. The priority areas of cooperation are transport,
trade facilitation, energy and trade. Just a few months back, CAREC
ministers approved a $ 23 billion Action Plan for undertaking regional
connectivity projects in the priority areas in member countries, Dar
said.

Source : http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-289506-Pakistan-experienced-remarkable-economic-recovery-in-short-period-says-Dar