WASHINGTON, April 23 : Pakistan will receive a record $ 13.5 billion in foreign remittances in a sign of overseas Pakistanis’ growing confidence in the economic policies of the government, which have now put the national economy on a path to stability and growth, Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said Monday.
Wrapping up a weeklong visit to Washington, during which he led Pakistani delegation to the annual IMF-World Bank spring gathering, the finance minister said Islamabad’s policies are yielding results . Despite soaring international oil prices and uncertain global economic situation, this year Pakistan’s economy will grow at 4 percent of GDP, the best in last five years.
“Overseas Pakistanis reposing confidence in Pakistan, will send $ 13.5 billion this year, reflecting a 21 percent increase from last year’s $ 11.2 billion,” the finance minister said at a Press conference.
Dr Shaikh, who attended several World Bank and IMF forums and met with his counterparts from other countries as well as U.S. officials, said during his interactions he came away with a positive feedback and appreciation for the government’s policies.
He recounted a host of positive indicators including six percent expansion in exports, which follow a 30 percent increase in exports last year, and a jumpt of 25 percent in revenue collection in the last nine months from July to March. Besides a check on inflation and government’s austerity drive, have also helped ease pressures on the economy.
At the same time, he said, Pakistan is fulfilling its debt repayment obligations and paying back an amount of $ 1.2 billion to the International Monetary Fund this year. Signifiying confidence in Pakistan’s ability to bring development to its people, the World Bank will give an unprecedented $ 1.8 billion dollars to the country this year and the International Finance Corporation‘s profile will reach one billion dollars for projects in energy, agricultural, financial, housing , agricultural storage areas.
In addition, the finance minister said, Asian Development Bank has reaffirmed its support for financing of Diamber Basha Dam. The finance minister also met with senior U.S. officials during the visit and discussed bilateral cooperation.
It is after several years- which saw war on terror inflicting losses of around $ 78 billion, epic floods of 2010 sweeping away $ 10 billion, exorbitant oil bills, and loss of much-needed investment weighing heavily on the outlook – that Pakistan’s economy is moving along a promising trajectory. Annual exports, which crossed $ 25 billion last year and continue the upward momentum this year and flow of unprecedented amounts of remittances have kept the foreign exchange reserves at comfortable levels. Still inflation is not scaling down to single digits and fiscal deficit remains to be tied down.
On the external front,, serious challenges threatening the growth pace arise from still climbing international oil prices and uncertain global economic situation and contraction, which could impact both Pakistani exports and flow of foreign investment into the country.
Source: MGCT By Ali Imran.
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