Pakistan's Advisor to Prime Minister on Finance and Economic Affairs Shaukat Tareen said Thursday that the country's GDP growth had shown improvement by 2 percent in the fiscal year 2008-09, while the GDP growth target for the next fiscal had been set at 3.3 percent.
He made the remarks while addressing reporters on the occasion of releasing Economic Survey of Pakistan in Islamabad.
Tareen said that due to the government's prudent policies, national economy had expanded by 4.1 percent during the current fiscal year.
While talking about the upcoming budget, which is to be announced on June 13, Tareen stated that the main focus of the budget was growth in every sector of the national economy and the government had planned steps to achieve maximum targets during the next fiscal.
It is important to mention here that the Pakistani government had not been able to achieve any of the fiscal targets set in the budget for the last couple of financial years.
Tareen further elaborated that Pakistan's external debt had increased by 8.2 percent to reach 50.1 billion rupees (about 626.25 million U.S. dollars) till March 2009.
Commenting on the current account deficit, Tareen stated that during the current fiscal year, the current account deficit remained at 6 percent of the GDP.
As most countries around the world are experiencing low levels of inflation, Pakistan remains unique in that as its inflation remains stubborn with strong downward rigidity.
Tareen asserted that the government's top priority was to tackle inflation and said that the average inflation for Fiscal Year 2008-09 was expected to be around 21 percent, with inflation in June forecasted to around 14 percent.
He said that the government would achieve the fiscal deficit target of 4.3 percent during the next financial year.
While talking about import/export performance in Fiscal Year 2008-09, Tareen said that Pakistan's exports had declined by 2.6 percent, while imports had gone down by 26.6 percent. The country's per capita income stays at 1,042 U.S. dollars, he added.
Foreign investments have been the main focus of the government during past several fiscal years. Tareen said that investments declined to 19.7 percent of the GDP in Financial Year 2008-09 as against 22.5 percent in fiscal year 2006-07.
As far as overall investment is concerned, it has grown by 14.1percent in Fiscal Year 2008-09 as compared with 15.7 percent in the previous year.
Money supply grew by 4.2 percent in Fiscal Year 2008-09 as compared with 9 percent of the last. He further added that services sector had swelled by 3.6 percent.
The agriculture sector is another area where the government is giving full attention to in the next fiscal, Tareen said. He said that during the current fiscal year, the agriculture sector showed a growth of up to 4 percent.
The industrial sector growth has registered a drop by 7.7 percent, which according to analysts is due to lack of attention by the government during the current fiscal.