Pakistan is likely to post GDP growth of 0.29% in the fiscal year ending June 2023, the country’s economic survey released on Thursday said, well below the target of 5% set last year.
The country’s economy has suffered record high inflation and an economic slowdown compounded by devastating floods last year and a failure so far to unlock crucial finances from the International Monetary Fund.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar told a news conference on the annual report that 0.29% GDP growth was a “realistic achievement” and anything higher was not achievable.
The average year-on-year inflation rate for the period up to May 2023 was recorded at 29.2%, the survey found.
In April and May, the country’s inflation hit record levels, which were also the highest in Asia.
The survey said Pakistan’s inflation had been driven by international commodity prices, global supply disruptions, flood damage to crops, currency depreciation, and political uncertainty in the country.
The fiscal deficit was 4.6% of GDP for the fiscal year up until April, a slight improvement from last year’s 4.9%, the survey showed, adding that the primary balance recorded a surplus of 99 billion Pakistani rupees.
Pakistan’s difficulties have included plummeting foreign exchange reserves, which have shrunk to cover barely a month’s worth of imports, leading the government to enforce measures to curb imports.
The current account deficit had narrowed to $3.3 billion by April - a 76% drop over the last year, the survey showed.
The country’s trade deficit to May also declined by 40.4% to $25.8 billion, as imports fell by 29.2% to $51.2 billion, while exports declined by 12.1% to $25.4 billion, the report said.
Remittances of money sent from relatives abroad were down 13% for the FY23 until April, to $22.7 billion.