Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Pakistan gov't says economic growth down to 5.8 percent

Pakistan gov't says economic growth down to 5.8 percent

Pakistan's sizzling economic growth has slowed to 5.8 percent because of poor farm output and sluggish industrial expansion, the government said Tuesday.
Finance Minister Naveed Qamar said projections indicated that the economy expanded 5.8 percent in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, compared to 6.8 percent the year before.
After years of rapid growth, Pakistan's economy is slowing amid problems from double-digit inflation to yawning budget and trade deficits and political uncertainty.
The World Bank has warned that Pakistan could tip into crisis unless the government acts quickly address the problems, which also include power shortages.
Western officials worry that a gathering confrontation between elements in the 10-week-old coalition government and President Pervez Musharraf is getting in the way of efforts to shore up the economy and counter Islamic militancy along the Afghan border.
Qamar released the data a day before presenting the coming year's budget, which is expected to include spending cuts and tax hikes. Officials have also said they will try to alleviate the impact of skyrocketing food prices on Pakistan's poor.
"We are sitting at the end of a pretty dismal year as far as the economic performance is concerned. However, the new democratic government is up to the challenges," Qamar said at a news conference.
Giving details on the economy, the minister said farm output grew just 1.5 percent in the current fiscal year because of poor results from Pakistan's main wheat and cotton crops.
Manufacturing grew by 5.4 percent, hampered by capacity problems, power shortages and law and order disturbances _ an apparent reference to rioting and arson after former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination in December.
Strong growth in service industries and consumer spending _ Pakistan's per capita income topped US$1,000 for the first time _ prevented a sharper slowdown, he said.
Inflation in the first ten months of the fiscal year was 10.3 percent, driven by rising oil and food prices but also by a sharp increase in government borrowing from the central bank.
Qamar said the government's budget deficit for this year would be the equivalent of 7 percent of gross domestic product _ a legacy the new government blames on the previous, pro-Musharraf administration.


Updated : 2021-04-23 15:16 GMT+08:00