Pakistan’s economy to grow by 2-2.5% this FY: Shamshad

Caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar projected on Saturday that the country’s economic growth will rebound by 2-2.5% in the current fiscal year.

Virtually addressing the ‘IPO Summit 2024’, organized by Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), Dr Akhtar estimated the agriculture sector to grow by 5.6% and industrial sector by 2.5% in the year.

She stood optimistic on collection of revenue in taxes, saying the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) would most probably collect Rs10 trillion in FY24 compared to the set target of Rs9.4 trillion for the year.

Shamshad said the country’s foreign exchange reserves have recently hit a high of $9.1 billion from $4 billion at the start of her term being the minister.

The finance minister said the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) was cognizant that the benchmark policy rate needs to come down, from current record high of 22%, to support economic activities .

Read Pakistan’s economy: what to expect for 2024

However, the rate cut largely depends on deceleration in the inflation reading in the country that has spiked to record high in the recent past, she added.

The minister said the cut-off yields on T-bills has fallen below the central bank policy rate, indicating a possible cut in the interest rate.

She acknowledged the uptrend at PSX since start of the current fiscal year. The bourse gave a return of 55% at PSX in 2023 while the benchmark KSE 100 Index ended at over 62,450 points in December 2023.

However, the minister expressed her disappointment over a single initial public offering (IPO) at PSX in 2023, saying the IPO came after 15 years.

She asked the authorities concerned to increase the number of inventors at PSX that have remained stagnant at 200,000 for a long time.

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