ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Thursday took the wraps off Pakistan Economic Survey for the outgoing fiscal year 2022-23, a document that sums up the government’s performance, to the utter dismay of the country as nearly all the targets were undershot by a shocking margin with the GDP growth rate crashing to 0.3%, which can be chalked up to natural and political disasters.
Finance minister presented the pre-budget document during a press conference held in Islamabad.
Dar’s first budget for this government’s complete fiscal year would be eagle-eyed by the analysts for any hints about populist dole-outs and they would also try to ascertain if the government was willing to pursue economic discipline required to enter another IMF programme.
At the start of the presser, Dar reminded the journalists of 2013 when Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government took charge. He explained that at the time the economy was in tatters, there was loadshedding of 18 hours, and terrorism was on the rise.
“We followed our “three-e’s” concept and Pakistan saw macroeconomic growth,” recalled Dar.
“Now, we are focusing on five-es — exports, equity, empowerment, environment, and energy. These are our five driving areas. This is our roadmap for the next year,” said the finance minister. He noted that the current year was “challenging” one and the “government did its best to handle the economic situation”.
While talking about the outgoing fiscal year 2022-203, the finance minister said that this year the government has added information and technology to the economic survey as “stand-alone”.
“This sector has the potential for growth in the coming days,” said the minister. He added that the government’s aim is to achieve macroeconomic stability along with inclusivity and resilience.
“We want it to be inclusive to avoid the maldistribution of resources,” said the finance minister. He emphasised that if this is done that the investors’ confidence can be restored.
“In 2013, we merged all the stock exchanges, helping the stock exchange grow substantially. The market capitalisation was around $100 billion during 2013-2017. This was huge. It is our duty to take Pakistan back to the track of growth,” said Dar.