Dar unveils Pakistan Economic Survey 2022-23

After having set a target of 5% growth, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar unveiled on Thursday the Pakistan Economic Survey 2022-23 that showed GDP increase at a lowly 0.3%. In what can easily be termed as one of the toughest years for Pakistan’s economy, Dar had his work cut out when he took over from Dr Miftah Ismail as finance minister last year. What he saw during the next few months were devastating floods, a lingering programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and months of political turmoil. As he unveiled the outgoing fiscal year’s economic scorecard, Dar said Pakistan has already taken the tough reforms it needed. “Any government that comes through polls can undertake tough political reforms,” said Dar. “We implemented them at the cost of political capital even though we took over mid-way.” “Despite all the constraints, including external and internal factors, we achieved GDP growth of 0.29% (provisionally). Agriculture, industry and services registered growth of 1.5%, -2.9% and 0.86%, respectively,” he said. He highlighted the challenges faced at the time, including a struggling economy, severe electricity shortages, and a rising threat of terrorism. Dar credited the government’s implementation of the “three-e’s” concept, which led to macroeconomic growth. The finance minister outlined the government’s focus on five key areas, referred to as the “five-es”: exports, equity, empowerment, environment, and energy. These areas would form the roadmap for the upcoming year. Despite acknowledging the challenging economic conditions of the current year, Dar stated that the government had made its best efforts to address the situation. “Major part of the revenue collection is being spent on interest payments, during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf period, the debts and liabilities were increased by 100%, and the debt and interest payments have reached Rs7000 billion rupees, these cases caused great damage to the country.” According to the survey, the economic growth rate of this financial year was 0.29%, the agriculture sector grew at a rate of 1.55%, while the growth of the industrial sector was negative at 2.94%, the growth rate of services was at 0.86%.