(Pakistan Point News - APP - 4th Augst,2016) Ishaq Dar said : "This indeed is a remarkable achievement as no downward revision was made in FBR revenue targets and the originally fixed target was achieved and exceeded which is an unprecedented accomplishment and speaks of the success of the economic policies, being followed by the present government." The performance of FBR, he said, becomes even more creditable when viewed in the context of the shortfall of Rs.

40 billion, recorded in the first quarter. In the subsequent quarters, the indicative targets were met wiping out the deficit of the first quarter, he added. He said against an end-year target of Rs. 3104 billion, FBR collected Rs. 3115 billion, according to provisional figures, which shows a growth in excess of 20 percent, over Rs.2589 billion collected in FY2015. In the process, he said the figure of FBR's tax-to-GDP ratio registered a substantial increase of one percent.

"We achieved real GDP growth rate of 4.71 percent in FY 2016, which is the highest in the last 8 years. Since FY 2014, we have maintained GDP growth rate of above 4 percent. For the next fiscal year, GDP growth is targeted at 5.7 percent which will gradually steer to 7 percent in Financial Year (FY) 2017", he said. He further said the industrial sector recorded a growth of 6.8 percent during FY 2016 which is the highest in the last eight years.

Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) growth remained robust at 4.61 percent during FY 2016 compared to 3.29 percent last fiscal year, he added. Automobiles, he said registered growth at 23.4 percent followed by Fertilizers 16 percent, Rubber products 11.6 percent, Leather products 12.2 percent, and Chemicals 10 percent, Cement 10.4 percent and its dispatches witnessed uptick by over 17 percent; and there has been a continued credit expansion.

A welcome development is the increase in fixed investment, he added. He further said that electricity and gas supplies continued to improve since the start of the current fiscal year. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would also play a significant role in further boosting economic activities, he added. The pakistan stock exchange (psx), he said has scaled new height of 39,800 Index on August 1, 2016 crossing the highest Index achieved previously in August, 2015, indicating robust economic activity and reflecting investor confidence.

Inflation, he said remained contained to less than 3 percent at 2.89 percent during the period FY 2016 as compared to 8.62 percent in FY 2014 and 4.53 percent in FY 2015. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the external sector was stable on the back of continued flows from International Financial Institutions (IFIs), low oil prices, rising remittances, albeit at a slower pace, which helped narrow down the current account deficit and maintained stability in foreign exchange market.

The foreign exchange reserves, he said increased to $23 billion as of July,22, 2016 of which SBP reserves stood at $18.037 billion and that of scheduled banks at $4.960 billion. The net International Reserves of the SBP have increased from a low of negative $2.5 billion at the start of the programme to positive $7.5 billion by end-June 2016. Regarding Financial and Fiscal performance, he said that performance of the banking sector remained steady with higher earnings and robust solvency.

The sector has high Return on Assets (RoA) of 2.2 percent and strong Capital Adequacy Ratio (car) of 16.1 percent, well above the 10.25 percent minimum regulatory requirement, he said. "We are continuing with the financial sector reforms agenda for strengthening the legal, regulatory and supervisory framework, aimed at safeguarding stability of the financial sector", he added. The budget deficit, he said which stood at over 8 percent of GDP in FY 2013 was brought down to 5.3 percent in FY 2015 and to 4.6 percent in FY 2016. "We are also committed to reduce public debt, and lay the foundations for a more sustained growth", he said. More/(kmd-imn)/mub