Pakistani economy to grow by 8pc

Associated Press

Karachi, May 17:

Pakistan’s economy will likely grow more than 6 per cent this fiscal year, and is targeted to reach eight per cent in the next three years, the finance minister said. Finance minister Shaukat Aziz made the projections at an Asian Development Bank annual meeting in South Korea on Sunday, according to a ministry statement. Last month, the International Monetary Fund forecast that Pakistan’s gross domestic product -- the total of goods and services produced -- would grow 5.8 per cent this fiscal year ending June 30. Aziz said Pakistan plans to take out loans for infrastructure projects in water, highways and power to boost economic development.

He said three years of economic reforms and a debt management strategy have helped reduce the country’s fiscal deficit to four per cent of GDP in the current fiscal year from six per cent three years ago. Inflation has been contained at below five per cent, and balance of payment and foreign exchange reserves are enough to cover 12 months of imports.

Pakistan’s economy has stabilized in recent years due to increased aid since it threw its support behind the US-led war on terrorism in late 2001. However, one third of the population still lives in poverty.