Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin unveils Pakistan Economic Survey 2020-21

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin on Thursday launched Pakistan Economic Survey 2020-21 in Islamabad, according to which, Pakistan’s economy rebounded strongly during the current fiscal year and posted a growth of around 4% which is substantially higher than the previous two years.

Shaukat Tarin was accompanied by the Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar, the Prime Minister’s Adviser for Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood, the Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Poverty Alleviation Sania Nishtar, and the Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Revenue Waqar Masood.

According to the Economic Survey 2020-21, the gross domestic product (GDP) at the current market price stands at Rs 47,709 billion showing a growth of 14.8 percent over the last year.

The agriculture sector posted a growth of 2.8 percent, industries 3.6 percent, and services 4.4 percent. In Industry, manufacturing recorded 8.7 percent growth on account of significant growth in large-scale manufacturing and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The large-scale manufacturing increased by 8.9 percent.

The construction sector recorded a growth of 8.3 percent. The IT sector witnessed a growth of 18. 85 percent which is the highest growth in comparison with all other industries and the highest in the region.

Shaukat Tarin said that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) collection has seen an increase of 18 percent as compared to the last year. The revenue collection has so far reached Rs 4.2 trillion, expressing the confidence that it will exceed the target of Rs 4.7 trillion by the end of the Financial Year 2020-21.

During the current fiscal year, the total revenue as a percent of GDP stood at 15.1 percent whilst total expenditures at 23.2 percent. Thus, the fiscal deficit stood at 8.1 percent.

During July-March of the Financial Year 2020-21, expenditures under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) stood at Rs 653.9 billion.

The finance minister said that remittances grew by 29 percent this year, which shows Overseas Pakistanis’ trust in Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said that the remittances have so far reached US$ 26 billion and these are expected to increase to US$ 29 billion by the close of the Financial Year 2020-21.

The economic survey revealed that Pakistan’s exports bounced back after a sharp hit during the strict lockdown in the last fiscal year, mainly due to export-oriented government policies and strong economic recoveries.

By April 2021, exports were amounted to US$ 20.9 billion as compared to US$ 18.4 billion in the same period last year which shows an impressive growth of 13.6 percent.

The imports stood at US$ 44.7 billion during the ten months of the current Fiscal Year as compared to US$ 37.9 billion in the same period last year.

Shaukat Tarin said that the inflow of dollars including through exports helped maintain the Current Account Deficit (CAD) in surplus over the last 10 months.

The Foreign Exchange Reserves stood at US$ 22.7 billion in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year. Out of this, the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) reserves were US$ 15.6 billion whereas reserves held with the commercial banks were US$ 7.1 billion. Pakistan’s rupee strengthened against the dollar, effectively appreciating the rupee by 9.5 percent.

Shaukat Tarin said the total debt stood at Rs 38 trillion by the end of March 2021 including Rs 25 trillion local debt and Rs 12.5 trillion foreign debt. There has been an increase of Rs 1.7 trillion in loans during this period as compared to Rs 3.7 trillion in 2019-20, which shows a reduction in loan growth. He said that foreign currency debt decreased by Rs 700 billion as compared to the previous year.

The Survey disclosed that health-related expenditure increased by 14.3 percent. Under this year’s PSDP, allocations of Rs 20,193. 9 million were made for 71 health sector projects.

The government earmarked Rs 29.5 billion for the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to implement 144 development projects of Public Sector Universities. The literacy rate in urban areas is 74 percent whilst in rural areas, it stands at 52 percent.

In the wake of COVID-19, the government disbursed Rs 179.8 billion as one-time emergency cash assistance to 14.8 million beneficiaries who were at the risk of falling into extreme poverty.

Under the Kamyab Jawan Youth program, the government disbursed Rs 8,566 million by April 2021 for businesses.

The finance minister said that one billion trees have been planted under the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project.

Shaukat Tarin said that the government better managed the COVID-19 which kept the businesses going and confidence high.

Expressing satisfaction over the trends in Pakistan Stock Exchange, he said that it has emerged as the best in Asia.

The minister said that there are 182 million cellular phone users and 100 million broadband subscribers in the Country.

Shaukat Tarin said that it was due to the farsighted and prudent decisions that the Country saw economic recovery.

The minister for finance said that incentives were especially given to different sectors, including construction, manufacturing, and textiles besides interventions were made in the agriculture sector. Bumper crops of wheat, sugarcane, and maize gave a push to the agriculture growth.

Shaukat Tarin said that the government’s stabilization program remained successful but now we will shift to growth. He said that we will have to target higher growth to provide job opportunities to the youth.

The finance minister said that there will be special interventions in the Federal Budget 2021-22 to take care of the poor segments of society and bring improvement in their living standards.

Shaukat Tarin said that despite an increase in the prices of commodities such as crude oil, palm oil, sugar, wheat, and tea in the international market, these have not been fully passed on to the consumers.

Moreover, he said that our vision is to make Pakistan a food exporter Country by supporting the agriculture sector. He said that the government is also establishing strategic reserves of major commodities to check their prices.

The finance minister said that the government is giving importance to better manage the power sector and address the issue of circular debt.

Shaukat Tarin said that six Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are ready to receive investment. He said that we are encouraging the Chinese friends to make their investments in the zones, stressing that bolstering exports is important for the economy.

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