Exports sees 13 percent rise : claims Miftah

Islamabad : Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Thursday claimed that there has been 13 percent increase in the exports of the country in the first nine month of the current fiscal year.
Presenting the annual budget for the year 2018-19, the Finance Minister said the exports have been a challenging area of the economy due to both internal and external factors and as a result of concerted efforts, export package of Rs.180 billion as well as exchange rate adjustments exports have increased by 13% increase in the first nine months of this year and 24% in March on shipment basis.
“We expect this momentum to continue,” he added. The minister said imports during the first nine months increased by 17% when compared with the same period last year. He said higher imports are mainly driven by an increase in import of POL products, machinery and raw materials. These imports, he said, are augmenting productive capacity of the economy for higher export volumes in the future. He said with the completion of the CPEC related projects this year and the recent exchange rate adjustment, imports are likely to moderate.
The Finance Minister said increase in productive imports has led to a widening of current account deficit to $12 billion in the first nine months of the current fiscal year. He said government has made adequate efforts to finance this deficit and he is certain that the foreign exchange reserves will be higher than their current level.
Regarding foreign direct investment, the Finance Minister said it has increased to $2.7 billion in FY2017 from $1.3 billion in 2013. He said during the first nine-months of the current fiscal year, it has increased to $2.1 billion as against $1.9 billion during the same period last year.
He said with the better governance, business friendly policies and improved security conditions have brought investors back to Pakistan. He said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is attracting large scale investments to key sectors of the economy including; energy, communication infrastructure, transportation, telecommunication, textile and construction.
The minister said these investments addressed perpetual bottlenecks of energy and infrastructure and unleashed the growth momentum. He said total of US$223 billion were invested in the economy from both domestic and foreign sources over the five years as compared to US$140 billion during 2008-13.

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