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UN report: Pakistan's economy to remain strong
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08:49, March 28, 2008

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Pakistan's economy is expected to remain strong growth of 6.5 percent supported by all sectors during the current year despite many challenges, according to a United Nations report released Thursday.

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in its economic and social survey appreciated Pakistan's macroeconomic policies of the last six years, saying that these helped increase the inflow of domestic and foreign investments and sustain a strong economic growth.

The survey said that sound policies have transformed Pakistan's consumption-led growth impetus to the one in which investment-led growth can assume a more important role.

According to the survey, Paksitan's agriculture sector grew by 5 percent last year while the manufacturing sector's growth continued at 8.4 percent. The inflow of foreign direct investment amounted to 8.4 billion U.S. dollars last year, which boosted performance of the economy.

A credible debt reduction strategy and fast economic growth drastically cut the public debt burden, besides successful reduction of its external debt burden, through rescheduling, debt cancellation and prepayment of expensive debt, the survey said.

Referring to the higher inflation level in Pakistan, the survey said global increases in some commodity prices, higher utility tariffs and some other factors fueled the inflation level in Pakistan. However, the government has made efforts to stem price rises through extension of public sector utility store network and extending subsidies on essential edibles.

The survey also highlighted the government's expansionary fiscal stance to promote investment for growth and increase pro-poor spending.

However it expressed concern over sharp slowing in the growth of Pakistan's exports and imports during the last year.

The ESCAP survey predicted that like many other South Asian countries, the current account deficit is to remain an issue for Pakistan due to higher oil prices and the impact on the garment and textiles trade. The report suggested export diversification besides reducing the risk of depending too much on a single sector to meet the challenge.


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