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Pakistan’s pace of economic growth to slow down to 4% in FY22: ADB

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  • ADB, however, says growth is expected to accelerate to 4.5% in FY23.
  • “Pakistan’s economy is recovering steadily due to well-coordinated fiscal and monetary responses to the pandemic,” ADB country director says.
  • Manilla-based institute notes that in FY22, industrial growth is forecast to decelerate.

ISLAMABAD: Following a remarkable economic rebound in the previous fiscal year 2020-21, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) projected Pakistan’s economic growth to slow down to 4% in the ongoing fiscal year 2021-22 amid tighter fiscal and monetary policies before picking up again in the fiscal year 2022-23.

According to the Asian Development Outlook (ADO), 2022 — ADB’s annual flagship economic publication — Pakistan’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth is projected to slow to 4% in FY22 from 5.6% in FY21 as the government applies measures to reduce the current account deficit, raise international reserves, and cut inflation.

“Growth is expected to accelerate to 4.5% in FY23 due to stronger private consumption and investment,” the Manilla-based institution projected.

Commenting on the forecast, ADB Country Director for Pakistan Yong Ye said: “Pakistan’s economy is recovering steadily thanks to well-coordinated fiscal and monetary responses to the pandemic.”

“These led to a remarkable expansion in the industry and services sectors. It is key to continue structural reforms along with appropriate fiscal and monetary policies to contain rising inflation and external imbalances. Comprehensive reforms in tax policy and administration are also critical to boosting revenues in order to fund essential public services. ADB is fully committed to supporting Pakistan’s sustainable development.”

The ADB further noted that in FY22, industrial growth is forecast to decelerate, reflecting fiscal and monetary tightening together with significant depreciation of the local currency, and upward adjustments to domestic oil and electricity prices.

Meanwhile, agriculture is expected to continue lending impetus to GDP growth supported by the government’s package of subsidised inputs and increased support prices of wheat and sugarcane.

The Manilla-based institution further added that inflation declined to 8.9% in FY21 but is expected to pick up in FY22 to around 11% due to higher international energy prices, significant currency depreciation, and elevated global food prices from supply disruptions.

As a net importer of oil and gas, Pakistan will continue experiencing strong inflationary pressures for the remainder of FY22 from the jump in global fuel prices resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Inflationary pressures are likely to be less pronounced in FY23, with inflation forecast to drop to 8.5% as fiscal consolidation progresses and oil and commodity prices stabilize,” the report mentioned.

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“Ready to work with Pakistan’s new government,” the IMF said.

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In response to the former premier’s request, IMF Director of Communications Julie Kozak stated, “I’m not going to comment on ongoing political developments,” during a news conference.

She continued by saying that they “look forward to working on policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and prosperity for all of Pakistan’s citizens with the new government.”

In addition to stating that the plan is “supporting the authority’s efforts to stabilise the economy and to, of course, with a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable,” Kozack said the lender increased the total disbursements under the Standby Arrangement (SBA) to $1.9 billion.

This has been accomplished by closely adhering to budgetary constraints and safeguarding the social safety net. In order to keep foreign exchange reserves growing and rein in inflation, a strict monetary policy stance has been maintained, the speaker stated.

The PTI founding chairman decided to write a letter to the international lender, asking it to demand an audit of the election held on February 8 before it proceeds with discussions with Islamabad for a new loan programme. This move prompted the IMF to release its statement.

In response to the former premier’s request, IMF Director of Communications Julie Kozak stated, “I’m not going to comment on ongoing political developments,” during a news conference.

She continued by saying that they “look forward to working on policies to ensure macroeconomic stability and prosperity for all of Pakistan’s citizens with the new government.”

In addition to stating that the plan is “supporting the authority’s efforts to stabilise the economy and to, of course, with a strong focus on protecting the most vulnerable,” Kozack said the lender increased the total disbursements under the Standby Arrangement (SBA) to $1.9 billion.

This has been accomplished by closely adhering to budgetary constraints and safeguarding the social safety net. In order to keep foreign exchange reserves growing and rein in inflation, a strict monetary policy stance has been maintained, the speaker stated.

The PTI founding chairman decided to write a letter to the international lender, asking it to demand an audit of the election held on February 8 before it proceeds with discussions with Islamabad for a new loan programme. This move prompted the IMF to release its statement.

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In a new IMF agreement, Pakistan would “raise” the FBR tax-to-GDP ratio to 15%.

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The state bank reserves will be maintained at a level equivalent to three months’ worth of import bills, according to sources in the Finance Ministry.

According to sources, the ministry has also set a goal to maintain the primary balance surplus and reduce the current account deficit.

The ministry insisted that once the existing agreement expires, a new one would be negotiated with the IMF, and that the IMF will also be guaranteed that the requirements will be implemented prior to the agreement being finalised.

The founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) demanded that an audit of the election results be conducted before the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved any additional loans for Islamabad. However, the IMF showed earlier today that it was eager to cooperate with the new administration in Pakistan by disregarding the demand.

According to Bloomberg News yesterday, Pakistan is to apply for a fresh $6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to assist the next government in paying off billions of dollars in debt that comes due this year.

According to the article, the nation would attempt to negotiate an Extended Fund Facility with the IMF, and it was anticipated that discussions with the international lender would begin in March or April.

Thanks to a short-term IMF bailout, Pakistan avoided defaulting last summer. However, the plan expires next month, and the next administration will need to negotiate a long-term deal to keep the $350 billion economy steady.

The IMF forced the South Asian country to enact a number of reforms prior to the rescue, including raising its benchmark interest rate, changing its budget, and raising the cost of natural gas and electricity.

According to a fund spokeswoman, the IMF staff is still in communication with authorities on the necessary longer-term reform initiatives. The fund is also prepared to assist the post-election government in addressing Pakistan’s ongoing issues by means of a new arrangement, should that request be made.

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39% increase in IT exports in January: Dr. Umar Saif

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According to Dr. Umar Saif, the acting minister for information technology and telecommunication, IT exports increased by 39.4% to $265 million in January of this year from $190 million in the same month the previous fiscal year.

The IT sector in Pakistan is expanding and breaking records. The minister wrote on X that “IT exports in January are up by 39.4% to $265 million, compared to $190 million in the same month in 2023.”

The minister also revealed that IT exports to the United States over the first seven months of the current fiscal year (July–January) were $1.7 billion, up 13 percent from $1.5 billion in the same time previous year.

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