GDP LIKELY TO REACH $132.95B IN FIVE YEARS

The industry and services sectors are likely to exhibit a robust growth in the next few years coupled with a strong improvement in the agriculture sector.

KHALID BUTT, Bureau Chief, Lahore
Aug 21 - Aug 27, 2006

The federal government has estimated a massive expansion of $38.15 billion in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Pakistan in five years as the national economy has been showing strong signs of a minimum of seven per cent per annum growth.

In 2003-04 the GDP of Pakistan had been calculated at $94.80 billion and it would expand to $132.95 billion by the financial year 2008-09, provided the economic growth remained pegged to at least seven per cent growth.

Details gathered by PAGE revealed that in 2004-05, for the first time, the GDP of Pakistan crossed $101 billion mark and settled at $101.43 billion, from $94.80 billion in 2003-04, as a minimum of seven percent overall economic growth had been projected by the federal government and the multilateral donor agencies.

The federal government and the donor agencies are of the view that the economy of Pakistan could sustain the current trend of robust growth in the economy for next few years, leading to expansion in the GDP, employment opportunities, poverty alleviation and increase in per capita income.

Details show that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would further expand to $116.127 billion in 2006-07, $124.255 billion in 2007-08 and $132.955 billion in financial year 2008-09. When contacted a Finance Ministry spokesman confirmed this sizable expansion in the national economy in five years.

The GDP base of Pakistan might exceed beyond $133 billion in case the overall economic growth rate enlarged to above seven percent in five years. He said that the federal government was taking a number of measures to sustain and accelerate the current trend of economic growth.

The industry and services sectors would exhibit a robust growth in next few years coupled with a strong improvement in the agriculture sector. He disclosed that the services and industry have shown three to four times expansion in the last couple of years.

The federal government, according to him, was endeavoring to expedite the infrastructure development activity and spending in the country that would gear up the momentum of growth in the GDP and overall economic cycle of the country. He also pointed out that in nine months of this fiscal the total inflow of foreign investment in the country has reached $900 million and the investment is expected to cross one billion dollars in 2004-05 that was a good omen for improvement in the economy.

Economic Adviser to the federal government is on record saying recently that the private sector credit line has surpassed the revised target of Rs 350 billion and expanded to Rs 362 billion in July to March this fiscal, which is another indication of large-scale expansion in the private sector, industrialization, manufacturing and production.

The Adviser maintained that the federal government was also focusing on increasing Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) spending to augment infrastructure strengthening, creation of jobs, poverty reduction and to maintain economic growth above seven per cent.

Worth noting is that the officials of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank have informed the Pakistan government that the existing trend of economic growth could be sustained for next 8-10 years in case the process of reforms is continued, social sector development expenditures are enhanced and a key focus is given on the development and strengthening of infrastructure, especially in the rural and sub-urban areas.