ISLAMABAD: The National Economic Council (NEC) was informed that political instability, escalating security expenditures and rapid expansion of population are some of the key challenges facing the country’s economy.
Sources said that the NEC meeting presided over by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was given a presentation by the Ministry of Planning and Development about the economic outlook and key challenges faced by the country.
According to the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms under-harnessed youth bulge and deficient human resource as well as susceptibility to natural disaster and climate change and relatively underdeveloped private sector are also key challenges of the country.
The meeting was further informed that the economy remained trapped in a cycle of erratic growth driven by low productivity leading to adverse social economic implications. Constraints of fiscal space, high indebtedness, higher taxes, limitation of public investment, difficult privatisation have also been identified in the outlook for 2035 and rethinking economy.
The meeting was also requested to approve GDP growth target of 3.5 per cent along with sectoral rates of agriculture (3.5per cent), industry (3.4per cent), and services (3.6per cent) for 2023-24 and macroeconomic framework for the Annual Plan 2023-24.
The agriculture sector’s 3.5 percent growth is based on the premise of three percent growth in important crops and 3.6 percent growth in livestock.
The industrial sector’s growth of 3.4 percent has been projected on the basis of (4.3per cent) growth in the manufacturing sector and (3.2per cent) in large-scale manufacturing (LSM), whereas, the meeting was informed that services sector growth is targeted (3.5per cent).
The meeting was further told that inflation for the next fiscal year has been projected at (21per cent), investment (15.1per cent) based on (13.5per cent) National Savings and (1.7per cent) Foreign Saving (external resources).
The NEC was informed that exports have been projected at $30 billion for the next fiscal year and imports $58.7 billion with a trade deficit of $28.7 billion. The current account deficit has been projected at 1.7 percent of the GDP for the next fiscal year.
The NEC was also informed that Pakistan with the current rate of population growth in the next 10 years. Eight million children will add every year and require 0.25 million primary schools at the current rate of enrolment.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023