Economy performed significantly better during last 5 years: PM

Economy performed significantly better during last 5 years: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says economy performed significantly better in almost all respects during the last five years as compared to what the present Government inherited in 2013.

He was briefing newsmen about performance of the economy during tenure of the present government along with Minister for Finance Miftah Ismail and Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb.

The Prime Minister said in 2013 GDP growth was just 3.68% which has increased to 5.79% this year. In dollar terms, the GDP stood at 231 billion dollars in 2013 and today it is 313 billion dollars.

He said industrial growth in 2013, was 0.75% and today it is 5.8%. Growth in large-scale manufacturing in first nine months of 2012-13 was 3.53% which is 5.89% in the comparable period this year.

The Prime Minister said construction sector grew eight times as compared to 2013 while service sector growth went up from 5.13% in 2013 to 6.43% this year. Agriculture growth in 2013 was 2.86% in 2013, which is now 3.81%.

He said in 2013 credit availability was 259 billion rupees and with three time growth it is 736 billion rupees now.

Wheat production went up from 24.21 million tonnes to 25.49 million tonnes; rice 5.54 million tonnes to 7.44 million tonnes, maize from 4.22 million tonnes to 5.7 million ronnes, and sugarcane 63.75 million tonnes to 81.1 million tonnes. Cotton production in 2013 was 13.03 million bales, which went down to 11.94 million bales.

The Prime Minister said inflation in 2013 was 7.75% which has come down to 3.77% now.

He acknowledged that there were challenges in the export sector. Exports in 2013 stood at 20.55 billion dollar, then came down for various reasons and now again picked up to 20.6 billion dollars for 2017-18.

He said imports in 2013 stood at 33.4 billion dollar and now these stood at 44.6 billion dollar due to hike in oil price in the international market and import of machinery for developmental projects including those under CPEC.

Remittances in first nine months of 2013 stood at 11.57 billion dollars and with 40% increase, these stood at 16.26 billion in corresponding period this year. Foreign direct investment in first nine months of 2013 stood at 0.86 billion dollars which has now gone up to 2.24 billion dollars.

Foreign Exchange Reserves in 2013 were 11.62 billion dollars and these are now 16.23 billion dollars.  Exchange rate in 2013 was 99.66 rupees which is now 115.62 rupee a dollar.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said there is 23% increase in per capita income as compared to 2013.

Stock index stood at 1`9916 in 2013 and it has gone up to 42536 points.

The Prime Minister said there has been 65% growth in revenue during the last five years.

Replying to a question the Prime Minister said amnesty scheme was just one part of the broader tax reform launched by the present government. 

The Prime Minister told another questioner that the economy would have been in much better condition now if there were no sit-ins and protests.

The Finance Minister explained that debt has increased but it should be seen in the context of increased GDP and enhanced capacity of the country to pay back loans. 

The Prime Minister said foreign debt has decreased. He said debt to GDP ratio came down from 21.4 percent in 2013 to 20.5 percent at present. About circular debt in power sector, he said there are challenges about it due to losses. He said unemployment also reduced by 0.3 percent.

About elections, the Prime Minister categorically stated that elections will be held on July 25 as per the constitutional provision of within sixty days of end of a government term. He said the Election Commission will issue the election schedule.

To a question about ensuring commitment of one hundred billion rupees for FATA every year, the Prime Minister said all the political parties have expressed commitment for it. He said political parties and parliament have delivered on FATA more than expectations. He said the process of mainstreaming FATA has been started and it will continue irrespective of change of government.

To a question about civil-military relations, the Prime Minister said a national dialogue needs to be initiated for a mechanism that every institution performs within its constitutional domain.  AP