GDP growth estimated at 5.97pc for FY 2021-22

Pakistan has estimated the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the range of approximately 6 percent for the current fiscal year with the major contributions of industrial and services sectors.

Unlike the IMF projection of a 4 percent GDP growth rate for Pakistan, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz led government has estimated a 5.97 percent provisional GDP growth rate for the year 2021-22.

The 105th meeting of the National Accounts Committee to review the final, revised and provisional estimates of GDP for the years 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 respectively was held on Wednesday under the chair of Secretary, MoPD&SI.

The provisional GDP growth rate for the year 2021-22 is estimated at 5.97% as broad-based growth was witnessed in all sectors of the economy.

The growth of agricultural, industrial and services sectors is 4.40%, 7.19% and 6.19% respectively. Similarly, the growth of important crops during this year is 7.24%.

The growth in production of important crops namely Cotton, Rice, Sugarcane and Maize are estimated at 17.9%, 10.7%, 9.4% and 19.0% respectively.

The cotton crop increased from 7.1 million bales reported last year to 8.3 million bales; Rice production increased from 8.4 million tons to 9.3 million tons; Sugarcane production increased from 81.0 million tons to 88.7 million tons; Maize production increased from 8.4 million tons to 10.6 million tons respectively, whole Wheat production decreased from 27.5 million tons to 26.4 million tons. Other crops showed growth of 5.44% mainly because of an increase in the production of pulses, vegetables, fodder, oilseeds and fruits. The livestock sector is showing a growth of 3.26%. The growth of forestry is 3.13% and fishing is at 0.35%.

The overall industrial sector shows an increase of 7.19%. The mining and quarrying sector has decreased by 4.47% due to a decline in the production of other minerals as well as a decline in exploration costs. The Large Scale Manufacturing industry is driven primarily by QIM data (from July 2021 to March 2022) which shows an increase of 10.4%. Major contributors to this growth are Food (11.67%), Tobacco (16.7%), Textile (3.19%), Wearing Apparel (33.95%), Wood Products (157.5%), Chemicals (7.79%), Iron & Steel Products (16.55%), Automobiles (54.10%), Furniture (301.83%) and other manufacturing (37.83%). The electricity, gas and water industry shows a growth of 7.86% mainly due to an increase in subsidies in 2021-22. The value-added in the construction industry, mainly driven by construction-related expenditures by industries, has registered a modest growth of 3.14% mainly due to an increase in general government spending.

The services sector shows a growth of 6.19%. The wholesale and Retail Trade industry grew by 10.04%. It is dependent on the output of agriculture, manufacturing and imports. The growth in trade value-added relating to agriculture, manufacturing and imports stands at 3.99%, 9.82% and 19.93% respectively. Transportation & Storage industry has increased by 5.42% due to an increase in gross value addition of railways (41.85%), air transport (26.56%), road transport (4.99%) and storage. Accommodation and food services activities have increased by 4.07%. Similarly, Information and communication increased by 11.9% due to improvements in telecommunication, computer programming, consultancy and related activities.

The finance and insurance industry shows an overall increase of 4.93% mainly due to an increase in deposits and loans. Real estate activities grew by 3.7% while public administration and social security (general government) activities posted negative growth of 1.23% due to high deflators. Education has witnessed a growth of 8.65% due to public sector expenditure. Human health and social work activities also increased by 2.25% due to general government expenditures. The provisional growth in other private services is 3.76%.

Overall, the GDP of the country at current market prices has reached Rs.66.949 trillion in 2021-22 which has resulted in an increase in per capita income from Rs.268,223 in 2020-21 to Rs.314,353 in 2021-22 besides the volume of the economy in dollars in 2021-22 stands at $383 billion.

According to details, the meeting also updated the provisional GDP estimates for the year 2020-21 and revised GDP estimates for the year 2019-20 presented in the 104th meeting of the NAC held in January 2022 on the basis of the latest available data.

The final growth rate of GDP for the year 2019-20 has been estimated at -0.94% which was -1.0% in the revised estimates. The revised growth rate of GDP for the year 2020-21 is 5.74% which was provisionally estimated at 5.57%.

The crop sub-sector has improved from 5.92% to 5.96%. The other crops have improved from provisional growth of 8.08% to 8.27% in revised estimates. The growth of the industrial sector in the revised estimates is 7.81% which was 7.79% in the provisional estimates while the growth of the services sector has improved from 5.7% to 6.0%.

Controversy about Chief Economist’s resignation:

Earlier on Wednesday, it emerged that Chief Economist Planning commission Dr Ahmad Zubair resigned from the position owing to exerting pressure from the high ups of planning and finance ministries on GDP numbers.

Sources on the condition of anonymity said that the Minister for planning and the minister of State for finance Ayesha Ghous Pasha have asked the relevant people in the planning commission to sit with the principal economic advisor Finance ministry on growth numbers with contending that GDP growth would be around 4% in the current fiscal year.

When the official of the planning commission stated that they had made a presentation to the previous minister for planning that as per the statistics of production data of various sectors indicates that GDP growth would be around 5.5 to 6 percent upon this minister of state for finance said that there was a shortfall in the projected projection of wheat crop. The official replied that even with this shortfall of 0.1 million metric tons, the production of sugarcane, rice and cotton as well as tomatoes was considerably higher.

Officials further stated that it would not be possible to show less growth on the basis of data available to all the stakeholders therefore such an effort would affect the compromise of PBS data.

Later on, a letter issued by Ahmad Zubair stated that there is news trending on social and electronic media that I resigned from the position of Chief Economist, planning Commission on account of manipulation attempts concerning FY22 GDP growth estimates. I would like to state that PBS has the mandate to estimate National accounts and that the M/PD&SI has no role in matters related to estimating GDP growth.

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Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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