Pakistan-Afghanistan Article IV consultations successfully complete

Pakistan-Afghanistan Article IV consultations successfully complete

DUBAI: Pakistan and International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday successfully completed annual consultations under Article IV of the Agreement.

Addressing a joint press conference along with the IMF Mission Chief Harald Finger here, Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar said the consultations had broadly covered multiple areas of the economy.

Successful completion of the discussions, he said, indicated the government’s continued commitment in further deepening of structural reforms in the areas of energy, monetary, financial and public sector enterprises.

The minister said the gross domestic product (GDP) continued to maintain its growth momentum above 4 per cent for the third successive year.

The government in the current fiscal year, he said, was expecting a growth above 5 per cent, which would be the highest in the last nine years.

“The overall economic environment is conducive backed by an accommodative monetary policy as policy rate at 5.75 percent is the lowest in last few decades,” Ishaq Dar said, adding inflation in March, 2017 slightly increased to 4.9 per cent compared to 3.9 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) basis while during July-March FY 2017 it stood at 4.01 per cent compared to last year’s 2.64 per cent  reflecting higher domestic demand and increase in global commodity prices.

Uptick in credit expansion to private sector, he said, had increased to Rs 393 billion during July-March 2016-17.

The minister said there had been a surge in import of machinery of over 42 per cent and raw materials pointing to robust industrial activities and build-up of future productive capacity of the economy.

“LSM (large scale manufacturing) continues to grow at 3.5 per cent with increase in production of cement, steel, harmaceuticals, automobiles, paper & board and electronics,” he added.

Increase in production of commodities, he added, would have a spillover effect on services sector.

Ishaq Dar said the budget deficit, which stood at 8.2 per cent of GDP in FY 2013, had been brought down to 4.6 per cent in FY 2016.

During the current financial year (FY), it was projected to reduce to 4.1 per cent of GDP.

“We are also committed to reduce net public debt which was 60.2% at close of FY 2016 in order to lay the foundations for sustained growth,” he said, adding that in March, 2017, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) recorded a growth of 16.1 % in revenue collection as it collected Rs 345 billion against Rs 297 billion in the corresponding month of the last year.

Thus, total collection by FBR in first nine months of the current financial year was Rs 2258 billion which was unprecedented in its history, he added. – APP