Pakistan’s economic scenario grim: survey

June 11th, 2008 - 2:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, June 11 (IANS) Pakistan has missed all its macroeconomic targets during the outgoing fiscal due to domestic and external shocks, the economic survey for the year says. GDP growth fell to 5.8 percent against the target of 7.2 percent, while fiscal deficit surged to 7 percent due to higher petroleum and food prices against the target of 4 percent, the survey stated.

This apart, the current account deficit touching 6.9 percent of the GDP and ballooning inflation at 10.3 percent against the target of 6.5 percent posed “serious challenges” to the country’s economic managers, the survey, released Tuesday, said.

“The public debt is rising on account of twin deficits - fiscal and current account - and likely to rise to 56 percent of the GDP for 2007-08 against 53 percent for the previous year and witnessing reversal in the trend by moving from bad to worst,” The News noted Wednesday.

“Fiscal 2007-08 witnessed violation of various aspects of the Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act 2005,” the economic survey pointed out.

Food inflation is estimated at 15 percent for the outgoing fiscal, “clearly indicating that the higher prices of food were fleecing the poor voiceless consumers”, it added.

Pakistan’s external debt rose to $45.9 billion in the first nine months of the current fiscal against $40 billion last year, registering an increase of $5.4 billion. Foreign exchange reserves dwindled to $12.3 billion by the end of April 2008, significantly lower than the June 2007 level of $15.6 billion.

The Pakistani rupee also depreciated against the US dollar by 6.4 percent during the first 10 months of the current fiscal compared to the previous financial year, the survey said.

On the positive side, per capita income rose to $1,085, while the poverty level had come down from 23.9 percent in 2004-05 to 22.3 percent by 2005-06, the survey said.

In spite of extreme political instability and heightened security concerns, Pakistan attracted $3.5 billion foreign direct investment in the first 10 months of the fiscal - some $700 million less than last year, the survey said.

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