ISLAMABAD; Pakistan's finance minister estimated GDP growth for this fiscal year ending in June at 3.7 percent on Thursday, falling short of the government's forecast after floods damaged the agricultural sector and due to a weak global economy.
The government had forecast 4.2 percent growth for 2011/12. Finance minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said a 3.7 percent expansion would still be the best performance since 2007/08.
"If we compare it to the 3 percent last year, then this is the highest economic growth in the last three years," he said.
Shaikh said the economy would have grown at a higher rate but was hampered by extensive flood damage to crops and infrastructure in the Sindh and Baluchistan provinces, and threats to the global economic recovery.
"Is (the GDP growth rate) rising in the way we want? No," he said, while unveiling Pakistan's economic survey for 2011/12.
According to the survey, the government's fiscal deficit in the first 10 months (July-April) of 2011/12 stood at 5 percent of GDP, compared to 5.5 percent in the same period the previous year.
The agriculture sector grew by an estimated 3.1 percent in 2011/12, the survey showed, compared to 2.4 percent growth the previous year. The sector accounts for 21 percent of GDP, 45 percent of employment and 60 percent of exports, according to the survey.
The manufacturing sector grew by an estimated 1.1 percent expansion, against 1 percent growth the previous year, while the services sector expanded 4 percent, compared to 4.4 percent in 2010/11. AGENCIES