By now most we all know that remittance inflows clocked-in at nearly $15 billion in the first ten months of current fiscal year. The year-on-year growth stood at 16 percent in 10MFY15 as against 11.48 percent in 10MFY14. Considering that the base is growing with each passing year, the 16 percent growth is quite heartening.
No matter how much you want to give a positive twist to private sector credit story, there simply isn one out there. The central banks monthly private credit off take data show that loans to businesses fell about 32 percent year-on-year in the nine months ending March 2015.
In the third quarter alone, there was a net retirement of Rs22.5 billion. To understand what that number means, a bit of background would be helpful.
Mutual funds are gaining grounds. Thanks to some level of recovery shown by the stock market in April 2015, the industrys assets have now crossed Rs489 billion marks, thereby depicting a decent rise of 7.8 percent over the preceding month, according to the latest statistics published by Mutual Fund Association of Pakistan (MUFAP). Comparing to December 2014 levels, the industrys assets are higher by a healthy 13.8 percent.
Business sentiments are improving; it is now time to stimulate the economy to gain momentum. The Finance Minister is all set to present the current government’s third fiscal budget early next month. The first two budgets were concentrated on stabilization. That objective has been somewhat achieved, though primarily due to exogenous factors. The need of the hour is to focus on growth through expansionary fiscal, monetary and trade policies.
Pakistan received $13.3 billion in remittances in 9MFY15 – or 74 percent of its exports in that period. Yet these remittances can potentially offer more. Developing countries received $436 billion from their diaspora in 2014, as per a recent World Bank report. But they can raise another $100 billion more if they can tap into diaspora savings and giving; reduce remittance transaction costs; and lower migrant recruitment expenses, as per the top development lender.
You could say that smart money has the news before the rest of us. Or perhaps there is power in positive thinking! Back in March 2014, the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry reported the findings of the eighth wave of its Business Confidence Survey. One of its surprising findings was that businesses appeared upbeat about FDI prospects in the future, even as the country struggled to meet key conditions set forth by the IMF.
What are some of the challenges and possibilities of working with data in Pakistan? That question is increasingly being raised at research workshops, think tank moots and at data boot camps such as the one hosted at the Centre for Excellence in Journalism at IBA in Karachi last week.