ISLAMABAD: At the last moment, a National Accounts Committee (NAC) meeting scheduled for Thursday (today) has been postponed apparently on the pretext that some census data will be incorporated into it for calculating the provisional GDP growth figure and per capita income.
However, top sources confided to The News on Wednesday that efforts were still under way to turn the possible negative growth figures into positive despite witnessing a steep fall in the figure of Large-Scale Manufacturing (LSM) in March 2023 whereby it contacted by 25 per cent. In July-March period of the current fiscal, the LSM dropped by 8.1 per cent. There are some more worrying developments as the initial estimates suggest that the finalized figure of GDP growth for the last financial year went up from the provisional figure of 5.97 per cent to finalized figure of 6.5 per cent for 2021-22 so the revised GDP growth figure would also result in showing more declining figure of provisional growth in the outgoing financial year 2022-23. Where there was a higher base, it would negatively affect the provisional growth prospects for the outgoing financial year, said the sources.
“The latest estimates suggest that the provisional GDP growth is negative so far in the range of -0.8 per cent to -1 per cent for the current fiscal year 2022-23,” said the sources and added that it could not be yet ascertained how the provisional GDP growth figures would be turned into positive one. Now the NAC may be rescheduled for Friday (tomorrow), but the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has not yet issued an official notification on the NAC meeting. However, one top official told The News that on the request of the PBS, the NAC meeting was rescheduled for Friday because the latest census data might be incorporated for calculating the provisional GDP growth figures and the per capita income in both rupee and dollar terms.
Pakistan envisaged GDP growth target of 5 per cent for the current financial year 2022-23 on the eve of the budget with the help of agriculture growth target of 3.9 per cent, manufacturing 7.1 per cent and services sector 5.1 per cent. The IMF and the World Bank had projected a downward revision of GDP growth in the range of 0.5 per cent for the current fiscal year. The Ministry of Finance had projected growth rate of 0.8 per cent in its revised estimates for the current financial year. The agriculture sector growth may also remain negative and it will solely depend upon the factor of wheat production. Among the services sector, the credit to private sector witnessed new low as the private sector credit from banks stood at just Rs 72 billion so far in the current fiscal year against Rs 800 billion in the same period of the last financial year.
The Wholesale and Retail trade might also witness declining trends, keeping in view imports compression. On eve of the budget for 2022-23, the government had envisaged GDP growth rate at 5 per cent and inflation at 11.5 per cent. Now the average CPI based inflation is expected to hover around 29-30 per cent on average for the current fiscal year.