Government cuts growth projection to 4pc for FY2019

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VIAMehtab Haider
SOURCEThe News
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ISLAMABAD: Government on Thursday revised down growth projection to four percent for the current fiscal year of 2018/19 from six percent as economic imbalances would take toll on the real GDP, but it hoped that it go up to 6.7 percent by the end of this regime’s tenure.

The planning ministry told a national assembly standing committee that the Planning Commission, in its 12th five-year plan, projected GDP growth at 4 percent in 2018/19 and that might go up to 6.7 percent in the terminal year of 2022/23. The average GDP has been estimated at 5.4 percent during the five-year term of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led regime.

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Planning and Development met under chairmanship of Junaid Akbar.

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The committee expressed serious reservation over the 12th five-year plan and termed it unrealistic. Members raised several questions regarding the government policy for agriculture, poverty and clean Pakistan themes of the five-year plan.

Sources said if the government opts to go into the International Monetary Fund’s program how this 12th five year plan and macroeconomic framework will remain relevant. “It is big question mark on the works done by the Planning Commission on this front,” a source said. The meeting was told that development outlay might be standing at Rs675 billion in the next budget equivalent to revised allocation of the ongoing financial year.

Secretary Planning Zafar Hassan said the department did not get any indicative figure on public sector development program (PSDP) from the ministry of finance. But, it seems to be standing equivalent to the outgoing fiscal year.

Also Read: Fitch Solutions sees growth down at 4.1pc in FY2020

On the projects dropped from the revised PSDP, Hassan informed the meeting that the approved projects require no approval. Ministries, divisions or provinces should re-send the projects and the planning ministry will consider them for incorporation in the next year PSDP, he said.

An important component to determine PSDP is poverty-related survey nationwide. Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) could not conduct the survey in the last few years owing to population census in 2017, but now the survey is underway.

A PBS official told The News that the data collection process would be complete till June. “It will take another four to six months for the Planning Commission to estimate latest poverty estimates anytime in the next fiscal year,” the official said, requesting anonymity. The committee was told Balochistan’s district Qila Abdullah was the poorest district of Pakistan in accordance with multidimensional poverty index in fiscal year of 2014/15. The parliamentarians severely grilled the planning commission and argued that they undertook poverty figures while sitting in their offices and which were contrary to the ground realities.

(This news/article originally appeared in The News on March 15th, 2019)

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