The economy is pretty much on the mend, with various key indicators showing signs of improvement, President Asif Ali Zardari heard on Thursday.
Briefing the president on the state of the economy, Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh cited increased tax revenue, reduction in inflation, a jump in exports and reduced expenditure as symptoms of an economy recuperating.
Presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar later told reporters that the economic managers briefed the president about various aspects of the economy and economic performance during the first five months of the current fiscal year — focusing on critical indicators such as broadening the tax base, fiscal austerity, exports, remittances, imports and inflation.
Finance Minister Shaikh stated that the economy was stable and various indicators were showing encouraging signs.
He said that efforts to broaden the tax base have met with significant success. Up to December 16 of the current fiscal year, Rs712 billion in taxes had been collected as against Rs555 billion collected during the corresponding period last year. It amounted to an increase of 28 per cent and exceeded the target of 25 per cent.
Regarding austerity measures, the finance minister informed the president that the budgetary expenditure during the first five months of the year was brought down to 38 per cent from 42 per cent.
Despite the worldwide slump in demand, Pakistani exports during the five months period have registered an increase of 12 per cent over the corresponding period last year, the minister revealed.
On the remittance side, an increase of 18 per cent was witnessed with transfer of funds amounting to $5.2 billion.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2011.