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Business Recorder

Published Date: Dec 10, 2014

Remarkable economic recovery achieved in 18 months: Dar

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Tuesday said Pakistan has undergone a
remarkable economic recovery over a short period of time, which is
widely acknowledged by independent analysts, particularly international
financial institutions. He was speaking at the 3-day Sustainable
Development Conference with the theme “Pathways to Sustainable
Development,” held under the auspices of SDPI here.

Talking about the key achievements in a short period of 18
months of the PML-N government, the minister said economic growth which
had averaged around 3 percent in five years before our government has
been estimated at 4.14 percent during 2013-14 as per the provisional
estimates, 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
increased to $1,386, showing a growth of 3.5 percent. He said inflation
which had averaged around 12 percent in five years before our
government, was recorded at 8.6 percent for 2013-14, despite undertaking
significant fiscal adjustment and enhanced tax effort; during October
2014, CPI was recorded at 5.8 percent and during November 2014, it stood
at 4.0 percent – the lowest level in 11 years.

Dar said the FBR revenues which had registered one of the
poorest performances in the recent past of a meagre 3 percent growth in
2012-13, were up by 16.44 percent in 2013-14. During July-November
2014-15, the FBR revenue registered a growth of 12.7 percent over last
year.

The FBR revenue during this period was recorded at Rs 901.55
billion as compared to Rs 799.87 billion last year. Remittances were
recorded at $6.078 billion during July-October 2014-15 against $5.276
billion in 2013-14, showing an increase of 15.21 percent.

The minister added that the government had made other important
achievements also including raising of $2 billion through Eurobond after
7 years; raising of $1 billion through international Sukuk after 9
years and successful auction of 3G-4G licenses. Nearly $1.2 billion were
raised and two more licenses are still available for auction. Then
there has been resumption of programme lending by World Bank and ADB
that has enabled us to access some $1.5 billion from these institutions
during the year. He also hinted at construction of 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 second choicest
place for FDI; Goldman Sachs forecast 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
our economic outlook from negative to positive; and in Neilsen’s Global
Survey of Consumer Confidence, Pakistan’s index rose to 99 in the 1st
quarter of 2014 from the lowest level of 86 in the 3rd quarter of 2011,
Dar added.

The minister said economic recovery and prosperity of Pakistan
will 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 Kashghar, both through railways as well as highways.

In addition, MoUs have been signed with China for energy
projects. In Afghanistan, we have supported the process of elections and
welcomed the resolution of election dispute between the presidential
candidates and eventual transition of power to 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.

Dar said 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.

The minister said apart from contributing to regional economy
through co-operation with its neighbours and regional countries,
Pakistan is actively promoting a number of projects that would enhance
regional connectivity and joint exploitation of regional resources.

Three projects are notable in this regard. He said first, the
CASA-1000 is the Central Asia South Asia electric power transmission
project that will transmit already available surplus power to deficient
countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The 1,222 kms transmission line,
costing nearly $1 billion 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
1,000 MW for Pakistan. Second, he said we are the central 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
Co-operation (CAREC) which is a partnership of 10 countries
(Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia,
Pakistan, China, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan), supported by 6
multilateral institutions, working together to promote development
through co-operation, leading to accelerated growth and poverty
reduction.

The priority areas of co-operation are transport; trade
facilitation; energy and trade policy. 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
remarked.-PR

Source : http://www.brecorder.com/business-and-economy/189:pakistan/1249837:remarkable-economic-recovery-achieved-in-18-months-dar/?date=2014-12-10