ISLAMABAD – Federal Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh has said that overall country’s economy showed healthy trend with an impressive achievement of $25 billion exports in the first six month of the current financial year, saying that an overall growth of 4 per cent is expected during the current fiscal.

Federal Minister for Finance Dr Hafeez Sheikh expressed these views while briefing Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani here at the Prime Minister’s House on half yearly promising performance of economy starting from July to December 2011. Secretary Finance Dr Waqar Masood was also present on the occasion.

The Prime Minister said that he would give a policy statement in Parliament soon about the salient features of economy and the achievements of the government in this regard.

The Minister for Finance said that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the current fiscal year FY2011-12 was expected to be around 4%. He said that it was for the first time after 24 months that inflationary pressures had begun to recede in December as compared to the same period last year. All three price indexes namely Consumer Price Index (CPI), Wholesale Price Index (WPI), and Sensitive Price Index (SPI) came down to single digit range and SPI fell as low as 3  per cent.

The Minister said that the external sector of economy continues to give strong performance. Exports, which registered an impressive achievement of $25 billion last year, have continued to grow and increased by 4 per cent in the first six months of current financial year as compared to the same period last year, the Minister added.

Finance Minister said that remittances during the same period increased by 19 per cent, averaging more than a billion dollar per month. He said that on the budget side, the government measures to increase the tax revenue had shown remarkable growth as during the first six months of current FY-2011-12. Federal Board of Revenue had collected 840 billion rupees, representing an increase of 27 per cent as compared to last year.

 This achievement could be considered as unprecedented increase in the revenue collection, the Minister said.

The Finance Minister further said that the government had also continued to exercise strict control on the expenditure side. Total expenditure during the first half of the current financial year was kept below 50 per cent of budgetary expenditure at 45pc.

The Minister said that the foreign exchange reserves remained above $17 billion and the government would pay back a tranche of $1.2 billion to International Monetary Fund next month, which had been allocated in the budget.

The Prime Minister was apprised of the upcoming auction of 3-G Spectrum and mobile license for which advertisements had appeared in the newspapers and transactions as planned would be undertaken in the next few weeks.

The PM was also briefed about the progress of Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) for which over Rs. 100 billion had been released so far to complete the projects of electricity, highways, water and other areas of national priority.