ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance, Dr Miftah Ismail has said the country’s economy had the potential to grow by 10 percent annually and if economic policies and reforms, introduced by the government in economic and taxation sectors, continued in future, the higher growth target can easily be achieved in years ahead.
“We also need stable governments and stable institutions to ensure the higher GDP growth,” Miftah said while addressing a Round Table Conference on “Pakistan Paradise for Investment”, organized by Pakistan Observer here.
He said during current fiscal year the country was going to achieve 5.8 percent GDP growth – very close to the government’s target of 6 percent during the year 2017-18. Responding to a question after his address regarding the expected GDP growth rate of 5 percent during next year projected by Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, the Adviser said last year the government targeted the country’s growth at 6 percent, however the ADB, IMF, and WB projected only around 5 percent, but in reality, the growth remained at 5.8 percent – very close to the government’s target. Speaking about government’s achievements during the last five years, the Adviser said that during the period, inflation had been brought down from over 11 percent to under 4 percent while energy crisis had largely been resolved now as around 10,000 MW of electricity was added to the national grid during the last five years.
Terrorism, which was the biggest hurdle in economic development, had also been subdued and around 90 percent terrorist activities had been reduced in the country, he added.
However he said current account deficit remained a problem in Pakistan but “we have largely controlled it due to measures taken by the government including devaluation of rupee”.
He said “We need to decrease cost of doing business to make the local industries competitive with the world market and to attract more Foreign Direct Investment as well”. Elaborating the economic reforms package announced by the Prime Minister, Miftah Ismail said the government had announced special taxation relief, especially for the salaried class which was the highest tax paying.
He said from next fiscal year the employees who would have salries less than Rs 100,000 per month would be exempt from paying taxes. “We raised the minimum threshold from Rs 40’000 to 100,000.”
Furthermore, he said with the help of National Database Regulator Authority (NADRA), Federal Board of Revenue will identify rich people and will bring them into tax net, he added.
“Through NADRA we are connecting data of rich and will give their names to FBR to bring them into tax net”, he said .The most fundamental reforms were taken in the Real Estate Sector and according to the new policy, no non-filer will be able to purchase any real estate property, he added.
Later talking to media, Miftah Ismail said that the Prime Minister had specially advised him to announce special package for government employees and pensioners in the upcoming budget 2018-19.
He said although the inflation rate was under five percent but the Government will give more relief to the employees and pensioners.
Meanwhile, addressing on the occasion, Ambassador of China to Pakistan, Yao Jing said Pakistan was the time-tested friend of China. He assured that China will support Pakistan to make it a new paradise of investment, he added. Jing said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was not only the platform for Pakistan and China but for for the whole region.
Ambassador of Turkey to Pakistan Ehsan Mustafa said Pakistan had done an great job on economic front as most of the economic indicators were showing positive trajectory.
He, however stressed the need to promote positive image of the country in the world to attract more and more investment in the country.