GDP growth expected to exceed 5.3% mark: Minister

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—Vows to provide maximum relief to ‘most affected salaried class’
—Hails last fiscal year’s growth
—Asserts major industries helped in maintaining growth rate

By Uzma Zafar
ISLAMABAD: Energy Minister Hammad Azhar has admitted that the salaried class is most affected by inflation, saying it was a result of the increase in prices of international commodities due to disruption in the supply chain.
“We are aware of the fact that ‘flood of inflation’ has also affected Pakistan and the salaried class is the most affected segment [due to inflation,” he said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday.
The minister assured that the government will take measures to provide “maximum relief” to the salaried- and middle-income segments of the country.
“Today we received the good news that economy grew at 5.37 per cent last year against the projection of 3.9 per cent,” he said, adding that the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is expected to exceed 5.3 per cent.
During the last fiscal year, Hammad said the country’s foreign exchange reserves increased by $5 billion. “Exports witnessed the growth and we paid ‘record’ debt repayments of $10 to $11 billion.”
During the last tenure of the PML-N, he said, the economic growth of 5.4 per cent was not sustainable as all other economic indicators including foreign exchange reserves, exports and others were negative.
The minister said his government had to take “tough decisions” to stabilise the economy and to take it out from the quagmire of “low growth”.
Due to the government’s prudent policies the country’s reserves, exports witnessed an increase and international rating agencies upgraded Pakistan’s economic outlook, he added.
Responding to a question, the energy minister said the last PML-N government installed power generation plants that run on either imported coal or LNG which he said was a major reason behind the increase in electricity prices.
He further said the PTI-led government launched a number of welfare initiates such as health card scheme, Ehsaas programme and others to help the masses deal with the challenge of inflation.
According to the energy minister, the GDP growth will generate thousands of new employment opportunities in the country.