Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

World Bank projects Pakistan’s GDP to decelerate to 2.7 percent in FY2019-20

World Bank projects Pakistan’s GDP to decelerate to 2.7 percent in FY2019-20

The GDP growth in Pakistan is predicted to go down by 3.4 percent in the fiscal year 2019 and would lose pace further the following year by 2.7 percent owing to the constriction of fiscal and monetary policies to attend to macroeconomic imbalances, reported the World Bank.The World Bank in the latest edition of South Asia Economic Focus, Exports Wanted, cited macroeconomic imbalances while also holding the slowdown in the country’s GDP growth to majorly fiscal and current account deficits.

The report by the global financial institute states: “In Pakistan, external account pressure reduced international reserves to USD 6.6 billion (1.3 months of goods and services import coverage) by mid-January 2019. With short-term financing from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and China, international reserves increased to USD 10.5 billion (2.0 months of goods and services import coverage) at the end of March. Meanwhile, the government continues to negotiate a support package with the International Monetary Fund.”

“The current account deficit continued to widen but stabilized over the course of last year and it stood at 5.2 percent of GDP in the fourth quarter of 2018. The current account deficit reached 8.8 USD billion (3.3 percent of GDP) at the end of February 2019, compared to 11.4 USD billion (3.7 percent of GDP) the year before.” It adds further.

Furthermore, the report states that the foremost inflation escalated in 2018 owing to the currency pressure that resulted in the surge in expense of final and intermediate goods. “It reached 8.3 percent (year over year) in December of last year, the highest value since January 2015… Consumer prices increased despite a strong decline in food prices,” it adds.

“It is entirely possible for Pakistan to transform its regulatory environment and reduce the cost of doing business. On the revenue front, reforms to improve tax administration and widen the tax base are critical.

Over the adjustment period and beyond, actions outlined in the recently announced Ehsaas Program can protect the poor and vulnerable through social safety nets and safeguarding public spending on health and education,” World Bank goes on to state.

Over the adjustment period and beyond, actions outlined in the recently announced Ehsaas Program can protect the poor and vulnerable through social safety nets and safeguarding public spending on health and education,” World Bank goes on to state.

Hans Timmer, World Bank Chief Economist for the South Asian Region states: “There’s no single solution that can unleash South Asia’s export potential and policymakers need to implement an ambitious range of reforms that can turn the region into the world’s next export powerhouse. Efforts should include trade liberalization, spurring entrepreneurship, and equipping citizens with the skills they need to compete on the global market. It would be good to be creative and relentless in all these efforts”.