Economy grew at 4.14% in 2013-14: survey

* Dar says achieved growth rate less than the targeted 4.4% but it was for first time in six years that country touched the 4% growth mark

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Monday that the country could provisionally achieve 4.1 percent growth target for the outgoing year, and termed the 4.4 percent GDP growth rate target for fiscal year 2013-14 as over-stretched.
Launching the Economic Survey for the year 2013-14 at a press conference at the premises of the Finance Ministry, the federal minister said the GDP growth rate was less than the targeted 4.4%, but it was for the first time in six years that the country had entered the territory of four percent growth in the fiscal year 2013-14. And, the GDP growth rate would be increased by one percent during the next three years, rising to 7% in 2017. Similarly, the industrial growth has been recorded at 5.84% as against 1.37% last year, he added.
Highlighting the overall performance of economy during the outgoing fiscal year, Ishaq Dar also said that the large-scale manufacturing recorded growth of 5.135% against last year’s 4.08%. He said electricity generation and gas distribution growth last year was minus 16.33%, but has grown by 3.72% in the outgoing year. The construction sector recorded growth of 11.31 percent this year as against minus 1.685 percent last year. The wholesale and retail trade increased by 5.181 percent as against 3.38 percent last year. Transport and communication recorded growth of 2.89 percent as against 2.88 percent last year.
On the agricultural sector growth, Dar said it showed a growth of 2.12% as against 2.88% last year, while the target for agri loans remained at 2.12 percent. Major crops showed growth of 3.74 percent as compared to 1.19% last year. Wheat production in year 2013-14 remained at 25.29 million tonnes as compared to 24.21 million tonnes in the last year. Similarly, rice production stood at 6.8 million tonnes as against 5.54 million tonnes last year; sugarcane 66.47 million tonnes as compared to 63.75 million tonnes last year, and maize production stood at 4.531 million tonnes as against 4.22 million tonnes last year. 
The provisional estimates of cotton production this year are 12.77 million bales as against 13.03 million bales last year. Similarly, grams and oil seeds recorded negative growth of 3.52%. Meanwhile, inflation in the first eleven months of the current financial year was 8.6% as against 7.5% last year. The minister said exports in ten months of the outgoing financial year stood at $21 billion against $20.1 billion last year showing an increase of $900 million. 
Ishaq Dar said grant of GSP Plus concession by the European Union has started impacting the country’s textile sector positively as it grew by 7% in value terms. The Economic Survey says that the imports in ten months of this financial year stood at $37.1 billion as against $36.7 billion last year, indicating a 1.2% increase. The finance minister said there was significant increase in the import of plant and machinery, which is a positive indication.
Workers’ remittances in the ten months of current financial year reached $12.9 billion as against $11.6 billion last year, showing a growth of 11.5%. Likewise, foreign investment this year stood at $2.979 billion as against $1.277 billion last year, while foreign exchange reserves presently stand at $13.63 billion as against $11.4 billion last year. Talking about the per capita income of this year, the survey further reveals that it has increased to $1,386 from $1,339 last year. The stock market crossed 29,700 points and its capitalisation increased by about 38%. 
The Economic Survey shows the tax revenue as percentage of GDP this year is 7% as against 6.8% last year. Non-tax revenue as percentage of GDP remains at 2.7%, while the total expenditure as percentage of GDP reduced to 12.9% from 14.8% last year. Also, development expenditure this year as percentage of GDP was 2.2% as against 2% last year. The fiscal deficit in first ten months was 3.2% as compared to 4.7% last year. The finance minister said FBR tax collections in 11 months grew by 16.4%. He said the State Bank borrowing last year was Rs 416.8 billion, but this year the government paid back Rs 10.5 billion rupees to the bank. Answering a question, Dar said the PML-N government has made the defence of the country invincible. 

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