. .

May 21 - Jun 03, 2001

4.5% a year growth rate target envisaged

The government intends to achieve a growth rate of 4.5 per cent a year for next three years and wants to narrow down the fiscal deficit to 3.5 per cent in 2004 from 5.3 per cent.

In a three-year plan, (01-02, 02-03 and 03-04), circulated among all the four provinces, the federal government has set for agriculture, a growth rate target of 3.5 per cent, manufacturing 6.9 per cent and for other sectors 5.2 per cent a year.

Total revenue generation in the terminal year of the plan -2004-is pitched at Rs851.9 billion. It includes Rs722.8 billion tax revenue which is more than 80 per cent of the expected tax collection in the current fiscal year.

Non-tax revenue, too, is expected to increase significantly to Rs129 billion.

The plan has set a target of revenue increase to 18.5 per cent of the GDP in 2004 from 16.3 per cent of the GDP at present. Current expenditure is also expected to come down from 18.6 per cent of the GDP to 17.8 per cent of the GDP. In real terms current expenditure is targeted at Rs818.5 billion in 2004.

However, the size of the development outlay is set to increase to 4.2 per cent of the GDP from 3.2 per cent at present. If everything goes according to the plan, the federal planners hope to prepare a development outlay of Rs 198.4 billion in 2004.

National savings ratio is expected to touch 15.4 per cent mark in 2004 when the government expects a total fixed investment of Rs762.5 billion. Greater investment-Rs572.1 billion - is likely to come from private sector while public sector investment is estimated at Rs190.4 billion.

Narrowing down of the current account to 1.1 per cent of the GDP and building up foreign exchange reserves is one of the key targets of the three-year plan, which anticipates 800 million dollars imbalance after exports have fetched 10.75 billion dollars, import bill amounts to 11.75 billion dollars, and there is a substantial improvement in the remittances and inflow of direct foreign investment.

Shaukat sees 8% growth

Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz estimates 8 per cent growth in the large scale industry in the current fiscal year but has no idea on the overall economic growth.

"I have not read," quipped the minister on Monday afternoon when a big group of newsmen drew his attention towards a newspaper report which quotes him saying in a pre-budget seminar on Sunday at Islamabad that Pakistan's growth rate in the current fiscal is below three per cent.

The Minister was the chief guest at the award distribution ceremony for the corporate excellence to the best managed companies in 1999 on Monday organised by the Management Association of Pakistan (MAP).

After the prize distribution ceremony, Shaukat Aziz responded to the questions of the waiting newsmen and said that he expects the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release the promised third tranche under Standby Facility agreement on schedule.

Economic growth estimated at 2.55%

Latest estimates put Pakistan's economic growth in the current fiscal year at 2.55 per cent mainly because of a negative growth of 2.49 per cent in agricultural sector, which has wiped off over 7 per cent growth in manufacturing.

A brief prepared by the Planning Commission for the Annual Planning Co-ordination Committee meeting to be held on Tuesday at Islamabad blames the "long spell of drought conditions" for the negative agricultural growth "presently being assessed at minus 2.5 per cent.

Hardly a month back, to be exact on April 12, the Economic Advisory Wing of the Finance Ministry has estimated real GDP growth at 3.8 per cent. Agriculture was reported to negative one while manufacturing sector showed 6 per cent growth. This document was circulated in a pre-budget seminar of Management Association of Pakistan where the secretary general Finance Moeen Afzal was the key speaker.

Cotton support price

Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf has asked the ministry of food and agriculture to present a summary for revision of cotton support price upward at the next cabinet meeting, official sources told on Wednesday.

The chief executive has also directed the ministry of finance to allocate Rs1 billion for drilling of 10,000 tubewells in all the four provinces, the source said.

Lead-free petrol

Lead-free petrol is being introduced in the country from July next, five years before the deadline set by the World Bank. "The government has asked us and all the refineries to go ahead with supply of lead-free petrol (RON-87) without any price change from July next," managing director, Pak Arab Refinery Limited (Parco), Dr Shahid K. Haq told on Wednesday.

45% units closed

More than 45 per cent - 104 out total 225 - of the industrial units in the Hub Industrial enclave have either been closed or operating partially because of tariff anomalies or financial and management problems.

Located in Balochistan province in immediate vicinity of Karachi, industrial units in Hub offer employment opportunities to a large number of people of this city.

The closed and sick units were of plastic, printing and packaging, tractor assembly, paper, pesticides, guar gum, chemical, textile spinning, food processing, leather garments, confectionery, marble, bicycle, fruit juice, towel, ghee, steel re-rolling, razor blade and polyester yarn.

Sindh industrial growth on downslide

Tempo of industrial production in Sindh is not keeping pace with the overall national industrial growth, and has in fact started showing an alarming downward trend since February last. An official survey covering 465 industrial units in the province, revealed that production went down by 3.72 per cent in February. Overall production in the first eight months of the current fiscal year - July 2000 to February 2001 - showed an insignificant growth of less than one per cent (only 0.83 per cent) in Sindh when national industrial production growth was 5 per cent plus.