Islamabad (Web Desk): Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Thursday presented the economic survey for the fiscal year 2023.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, the finance minister said that the incumbent government has rescued the crippling economy and averted default in the face of serious inherited challenges on internal and external fronts.
"The outgoing fiscal year was a challenging one. However, the government tried to effectively cope with the situation. As a result, the declining trend has stopped and now efforts are underway to revamp economy and bring financial stability to the country," the minister said.
Presenting the statistics of the Economic Survey, Ishaq Dar said primary balance surplus of over Rs99 billion has been recorded while the Current Account Deficit reduced by 76% to $3.3 billion during the first 10 months of the current fiscal year. He said the tax collection increased by 18.1% to Rs6938.2 billion.
The finance minister said GDP posted a growth of 0.29%, terming it a realistic one.
He said agriculture grew by 1.55% while industry, manufacturing and construction sectors showed negative growth due to slowdown in global and domestic economic activity and contractionary macroeconomic policies.
He said the IT sector posted a trade surplus of $1.72 billion, showing an increase of 16.7% compared to the last year.
Ishaq Dar said electricity, Gas, and Water Supply and the other sub-sector of Industry posted a growth of 6%. Services Sector growth remained 0.86%. During July-March FY2023, 21,117 new companies were incorporated with Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), which is 5.9% higher than the same period during last year.
The finance minister said that imports witnessed a decline of 29.2% while the exports 12.1%.
He said that the foreign direct investment remained $1170 million.
Dar said that said literacy rate increased in both rural and urban areas 54% and 77.3% respectively.
"Despite economic constraints, the government has focused on providing relief to different segments of society. These included Kissan package worth Rs1800 billion, enhancing allocation for Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and the recent reduction in the prices of petroleum products," he said.
The finance minister said government's vision is to restore macroeconomic stability and achieve inclusive and resilient growth trajectory.
Ishaq Dar said the government has now given a roadmap of five Es for the next year.
He said exports, equity, empowerment, environment and energy will serve as a driving force for the economy.
Dar was highly critical of the fiscal management of previous government saying its failure to fulfill sovereign commitments shook the country's credibility.
"We took the most difficult structural reforms at a huge political cost just to put the direction right," Dar said.
The finance minister said the coalition government is committed that all sovereign liabilities must be paid on time.
He said the coalition government paid back a debt of $6.5 billion, including $5.5 billion commercial banks debt and bond worth $1 billion.
Regarding the dollar exchange rate, Ishaq Dar said our currency is under value and it is depreciating due to certain reasons and we are trying hard to address this issue.
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said we have doubled the development budget to Rs1100 billion.
He said the budget of HEC has been increased to Rs60 billion from Rs26 billion.
The minister said that Rs80 billion in the development budget will include important initiatives aimed at development of the country.
Responding to a question, Ishaq Dar assured that given the space available, the government will try its best to extend maximum relief to the salaried class.