17 - 23, 2002
EXPORTS, CROPS YIELD FALL; GDP AT 3.6PC
Pakistan's economy showed mixed trends during the outgoing
financial year 2001-2002, achieving a 3.6 per cent GDP growth but witnessing a
decline in revenues, exports, fixed investment, wheat, rice and cotton crops.
Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, who released the Economic
Survey 2001-2002 on Thursday at a news conference, claimed that despite
continued drought conditions and the Sept 11 and Dec 13 events of last year, the
economy "has shown resilience" and could withstand any local or
The real GDP has shown a humble recovery at 3.6 per cent when
compared with the revised target of 3.3 per cent and the previous year's 2.5 per
According to the finance minister, the better 3.6 per cent
growth was possible due to 1.4 per cent, 4.4 per cent and 5.1 per cent growth in
agriculture, manufacturing and services sector, respectively. Had there been no
effect of drought, the GDP growth could have been 4.7 per cent as against the
target of 4 per cent in 2001-2002, he said.
According to the Survey, the domestic and foreign debt has
shrunken, investment climate improved and budget deficit target achieved. The
Gross National Product during the current financial year grew by 5.4 per cent as
against 2.5 per cent recorded a year earlier. When translated into volume terms,
the GNP stood at $65 billion.
Inflation rate, as measured by consumer price index, stood at
2.6 per cent during July-April as against 4.7 per cent in the corresponding
period of last year. "This 2.6 per cent inflation is the lowest in three
decades," the finance minister claimed.
Major crops registered a negative growth of 0.5 per cent in
2001-2002, while minor crops grew slightly by 1.0 per cent. Wheat production was
estimated at 18.475 million tonnes as against 19.024 million tonnes of last
year, showing a decline of 2.9 per cent. Likewise, rice production was estimated
at 3.882 million tonnes in 2001-2002 as against 4.803 million tonnes of
2000-2001, thus showing a decline of 19.2 per cent.
PHUTTI PRICE FIXED AT RS800 PER 40KG
The government has fixed the price of seed cotton (phutti)
grade III at Rs800 per 40 kg against the current year's price of Rs780 per 40 kg
and asked the Trading Corporation of Pakistan to maintain this price level
Announcing this at a news conference on Wednesday, Commerce
Minister Abdul Razak Dawood said that duty-free import and export cotton policy
adopted last year would continue in the next year.
The seed cotton for which price has been fixed is required to
be of minimum staple length of 1-1/32" and micronaire of 3.8 to 4.9 NCL.
The next year's cotton yield target has been lowered to 10.1
million bales as against 10.9 million bales of the current year due to the
INFLATION SOARS BY 4.15PC
Inflation based on Consumer Price Index (CPI) soared by 4.15
per cent during the period July-May of 2001-02 compared to the same period of
previous year, says the price data released by the Federal Bureau of Statistics
(FBS) on Wednesday.
The CPI index, starting at 100 in July 2001, consequently
rose to 104.15 during the first 11 months of the current financial year.
The Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI), using 2001-02 as the new
base and derived from the average of prices affecting four major economic
strata, thus diluting the effect on the lowest- and lower-middle income groups,
was shown to have risen to 103.43. This denotes an increase of 3.43 per cent in
SPI during the current financial year so far.
MIXED REACTION TO NEW COTTON POLICY
Cotton trade gave a mixed reaction to the new cotton policy
as it is claimed to be heavily tilted in favour of growers and spinners, leaving
the other sectors at the mercy of counter market forces.
The major associations of growers were demanding that new
season's procurement price should be fixed around Rs900 per 40 kg in line with
the increase in inputs, including fertiliser and pesticides, dealers said,
adding "the increase of Rs20 per kg though is modest, growers are expected
to get more as the fall in acreage could well mean lower production in the new
SINDH-BALOCHISTAN WATER ROW RESURFACES
The differences over the distribution of water have again
surfaced between the Sindh and Balochistan provinces, with the latter seeking
President's indulgence in a bid to save its Kharif crop from ruining.
Notwithstanding the fact that there has been a significant
increase in rivers flow, the shortage of irrigation water is still far from over
for the growers of Balochistan, an official told.
"Even on Wednesday, Balochistan received 3,405 cusecs
less water from their allotted share," the source said.
The government has persuaded the donors to let it continue
with around Rs11 billion subsidy to the fertilizer industry for another year.
A senior official told that under the conditionalities of the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the government was
required to withdraw Rs11 billion subsidy available to the fertilizer industry
under the gas price rationalization plan.
Pakistan's water shortage ended on Saturday as the rivers'
combined flow exceeded total withdrawal capacity of the provinces.
The provinces have started running their canals at their full
capacity in view of the supplies touching a healthy 371,500 cusec mark.
Saturday's inflow was factually 111,500 cusecs more than the total withdrawal
capacity of the system that stands at 260,000 cusecs.