WASHINGTON: “Pakistan will receive a record $13.5 billion in foreign remittances – a sign of overseas Pakistanis’ confidence in the economic policies of the government, which have now put the national economy on the path to stability and growth,” Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said on Monday.
Wrapping up a weeklong visit to Washington, the finance minister said Islamabad’s policies are yielding results despite soaring international oil prices and an uncertain global economic situation. “This year, Pakistan’s economy will grow at 4% of GDP, the best in last five years,” he said.
“Overseas Pakistanis will send $13.5 billion this year, reflecting a 21% increase from last year’s $11.2 billion,” the finance minister said at a press conference. Dr Shaikh attended several World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) forums during his visit. He met with his counterparts from other countries as well as US officials, and said that, during his interactions, he came away with positive feedback and appreciation for the government’s policies.
He recounted a host of positive indicators; including a 6% expansion in exports, which follow a 30% surge in exports last year; and a jump of 25% in revenue collection in the nine months from July 2011 to March 2012.
“Besides, a check on inflation and the government austerity drive have also helped ease pressures on the economy.”
At the same time, he said, Pakistan is fulfilling its debt repayment obligations and paying back $1.2 billion to the IMF this year. The World Bank will give an unprecedented $1.8 billion dollars to the country this year, and the International Finance Corporation’s profile will reach one billion dollars for projects in energy, agricultural, financial, housing , agricultural storage areas.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 25th, 2012.