According to Ashfaq Tola, Vice President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan, Pakistan’s economy is seeing a positive trend of growth, with GDP likely to climb by 3.1 percent due to improving agricultural and industrial performance (ICAP).
On Saturday, he made these statements as the keynote speaker at the Council of Economic and Energy Journalists’ pre-budget conference held at the Karachi Press Club.
The seminar covered the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) initiatives to avoid job losses during the pandemic, as well as subsidies to farmers on input costs and the launch of various business-supporting schemes, such as the export financing scheme and the Long-Term Financing Facility (LTFF), all of which helped to shore up the economy, which was in recession last year.
According to Ashfaq, the current growth rate is based on estimates at the 2015 factor price level. However, economic growth has been negative for the past three years in terms of real GDP.
He stated that ICAP is collaborating with the government to build a method based on assets and liabilities that will present the most accurate balance sheet of the country’s economic performance at the highest level possible.
He went on to say that the real GDP should represent GDP growth, inflation, and the unemployment rate, and that the taxation objective is overly ambitious given current economic development.
He believes that the government should avoid revisiting the tax amnesty policy, but that the tax rate in certain sectors should be cut, and that FTAs should be revisited to help local businesses.
He went on to say that the government’s GDP-to-investment rate is relatively low, and that exports’ contribution to the economy should be increased from 8% to 10%.
The government should work with the private sector to improve the economy’s financial inclusion, which has increased from 17% to 25% in the last five years. He did say, though, that an average of 3% should be grown each year.
He also stated that the country’s parallel and black economy is growing, which should be handled through administrative measures or severe enforcement of the law in business activities.
Raja Kamran, President of the CEEJ, stated that budget and economic reporting in the media is extremely difficult and diverse due to the numerous perspectives of experts and economic managers.
He went on to say that expert disagreements and viewpoints do not reflect the true picture of Pakistan’s economy, and that this is something that working journalists should address through capacity building and understanding of the issue.