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Economy of Pakistan
First five decades
Pakistan was a very poor and predominantly agricultural country when it gained independence in 1947 from Britain. Pakistan’s average economic growth rate since independence has been higher than the average growth rate of the world economy during the period. Average annual real GDP growth rates were 6.8% in the 1960s, 4.8% in the 1970s, and 6.5% in the 1980s. Average annual growth fell to 4.6% in the 1990s with significantly lower growth in the second half of that decade. See also
Industrial-sector growth, including manufacturing, was also above average. During the 1960s, Pakistan was seen as a model of economic development around the world, and there was much praise for its economic progression. Karachi was seen as an economic role model around the world, and there was much praise for the way its economy was progressing. Many countries sought to emulate Pakistan’s economic planning strategy and one of them, South Korea, copied the city’s second “Five-Year Plan” and World Financial Center in Seoul is designed and modeled after Karachi. Later, economic mismanagement in general, and fiscally imprudent economic policies in particular, caused a large increase in the country’s public debt and led to slower growth in the 1990s. Two wars with India in Second Kashmir War 1965 and Bangladesh Liberation War 1971 and separation of Bangladesh adversely affected economic growth. In particular, the latter war brought the economy close to recession, although economic output rebounded sharply until the nationalizations of the mid-1970s. The economy recovered during the 1980s via a policy of deregulation, as well as an increased inflow of foreign aid and remittances from expatriate workers.
This is a chart of trend of gross domestic product of Pakistan at market prices estimated by the International Monetary Fund with figures in millions of Pakistani Rupees. See also
Gross Domestic Product
US Dollar Exchange
Per Capita Income
(as % of USA)
4.76 Pakistani Rupees
4.76 Pakistani Rupees
4.76 Pakistani Rupees
9.91 Pakistani Rupees
9.97 Pakistani Rupees
16.28 Pakistani Rupees
21.41 Pakistani Rupees
30.62 Pakistani Rupees
51.64 Pakistani Rupees
59.86 Pakistani Rupees
GDP Rate of Growth 1951-2007
Historically, Pakistan’s overall economic output (GDP) has grown every year since a 1951 recession. Despite this record of sustained growth, Pakistan’s economy had, until a few years ago, been characterized as unstable and highly vulnerable to external and internal shocks. However, the economy proved to be unexpectedly resilient in the face of multiple adverse events concentrated into an four-year (1998-2002) period
the Asian financial crisis;
economic sanctions according to Colin Powell, Pakistan was “sanctioned to the eyeballs”;
The global recession of 2001-2002;
a severe drought the worst in Pakistan’s history, lasting about four years;
heightened perceptions of risk as a result of military tensions with India with as many as 1 million troops on the border, and predictions of impending (potentially nuclear) war;
the post-9/11 military action in neighboring Afghanistan, with a massive influx of refugees from that country;
Despite these adverse events, Pakistan’s economy kept growing, and economic growth accelerated towards the end of this period. This resilience has led to a change in perceptions of the economy, with leading international institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, and the ADB praising Pakistan’s performance in the face of adversity.
More recent reports of resilience
Additional confirmation that the country’s economy is not as weather-sensitive as had been previously perceived comes from a 2008 analysis that “examined 68 countries, quantifying their sensitivity to fluctuations in weather, using figures on GDP by industry sector and the sensitivity of particular sectors to given weather variables.” The analysis found that of the 68 countries, the “least weather-sensitive country was Pakistan.”
After the highly destructive 2005 earthquake, Pakistan’s economy kept expanding, growing by over 7 percent in the twelve months ending June 30, 2006.
Pakistan emerged as one of the best performers in the wake of the global financial crisis, even as the country waged a costly war against militants. Its domestically-driven economy was minimally affected and its banking sector boasted surplus liquidity while remaining unharmed. However the impact was seen for export sectors which strank as a result of lower external demand. ref>”Barclays sees huge potential in Pakistan (Aug 14 2009)”. DAWN. http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/business/09-barclays-sees-huge-potential-in-pakistan—szh-05. Retrieved 2009-09-15. </ref>
Macroeconomic reform and prospects
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National Highways, Motorways & Strategic Roads of Pakistan.
According to many sources, the Pakistani government has made substantial economic reforms since 2000, and medium-term prospects for job creation and poverty reduction are the best in nearly a decade.
Government revenues have greatly improved in recent years, as a result of economic growth, tax reforms – with a broadening of the tax base, and more efficient tax collection as a result of self-assessment schemes and corruption controls in the Central Board of Revenue – and the privatization of public utilities and telecommunications. Pakistan is aggressively cutting tariffs and assisting exports by improving ports, roads, electricity supplies and irrigation projects. Islamabad has doubled development spending from about 2% of GDP in the 1990s to 4% in 2003, a necessary step towards reversing the broad underdevelopment of its social sector.
Liberalization in the international textile trade has already yielded benefits for Pakistan’s exports, and the country also expects to profit from freer trade in agriculture. As a large country, Pakistan hopes to take advantage of significant economies of scale, and to replace China as the largest textile manufacturer as the latter China moves up the value-added chain. These industries play to Pakistan’s relative strengths in low labor costs.
Growing stability in the nation’s monetary policies has contributed to a reduction in money-market interest rates, and a great expansion in the quantity of credit, changing consumption and investment patterns in the nation. Pakistan’s domestic natural gas production, and its significant use of CNG in automobiles, has cushioned the effect of the oil-price shock of 2004-2005. Pakistan is also moving away from the doctrine of import substitution which some developing countries (such as Iran) dogmatically pursued in the twentieth century. The Pakistani government is now pursuing an export-driven model of economic growth successfully implemented by South East Asia and now highly successful in China.
In 2005, the World Bank reported that
“Pakistan was the top reformer in the region and the number 10 reformer globally making it easier to start a business, reducing the cost to register property, increasing penalties for violating corporate governance rules, and replacing a requirement to license every shipment with two-year duration licenses for traders.”
The World Bank (WB) and International Finance Corporation flagship report ase of Doing Business 2010 ranked Pakistan 85 among 181 countries around the globe. Pakistan comes highest in South Asia but also ranks higher than China, Russia and India which is at 133. The top five countries are Singapore, New Zealand, the United States, Hong Kong and United Kingdom.
The Government of Pakistan has, over the last few years, granted numerous incentives to technology companies wishing to do business in Pakistan. A combination of decade-plus tax holidays, zero duties on computer imports, government incentives for venture capital and a variety of programs for subsidizing technical education, are intended to give impetus to the nascent Information Technology industry. This in recent years has resulted in impressive growth in that sector.
The economy today
Due to inflation and economic crisis worldwide, Pakistan’s economy reached a state of Balance of Payment crisis. “The International Monetary Fund bailed out Pakistan in November 2008 to avert a balance of payments crisis and in July last year increased the loan to $11.3 billion from an initial $7.6 billion.”
By October 2007, Pakistan raised back its Foreign Reserves to a handsome $16.4 billion. Exceptional policies kept Pakistan’s trade deficit controlled at $13 billion, exports boomed to $18 billion, revenue generation increased to become $13 billion and attracted foreign investment of $8.4 billion.
Since the beginning of 2008, Pakistan’s economic outlook has taken stagnation. Security concerns stemming from the nation’s role in the War on Terror have created great instability and led to a decline in FDI from a height of approximately $8 bn to $3.5bn for the current fiscal year. Concurrently, the insurgency has forced massive capital flight from Pakistan to the Gulf. Combined with high global commodity prices, the dual impact has shocked Pakistan’s economy, with gaping trade deficits, high inflation and a crash in the value of the Rupee, which has fallen from 60-1 USD to over 80-1 USD in a few months. For the first time in years, it may have to seek external funding as Balance of Payments support. Consequently, S&P lowered Pakistan foreign currency debt rating to CCC-plus from B, just several notches above a level that would indicate default. Pakistan local currency debt rating was lowered to B-minus from BB-minus. Credit agency Moody Investors Service cut its outlook on Pakistan debt to negative from stable due to political uncertainty, though it maintained the country rating at B2.The cost of protection against a default in Pakistan sovereign debt trades at 1,800 basis points, according to its five year credit default swap, a level that indicates investors believe the country is already in or will soon be in default.
The middle term however may be less turbulent, depending on the political environment. The EIU estimates that inflation should drop back to single digits in 2010, and that growth should pick up to over 5% per annum by 2011. Although less than the previous 5 year average of 7%, it would represent a overcoming of the present crisis wherein growth is a mere 3.5-4%.
Economic Comparison of Pakistan 1999-2008
A view of I.I.Chundrigar Road, the financial district of Karachi in Pakistan
Mainstay of the Economy – By Region, Source:
$ 75 billion
$ 160 billion
$ 168 billion
$ 185 billion
GDP Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)
$ 245 billion
$ 445.5 billion
$ 445 billion
$ 545.6 billion
GDP per Capita Income
Rs. 305 billion
Rs. 708 billion
Rs. 990 billion
Rs. 1.05 trillion
$ 700 million
$ 16.4 billion
$ 10 billion
$ 14 billion
$ 7.5 billion
$ 18.5 billion
$ 19.22 billion
$ 18.45 billion
$ 5.5 billion
$ 11.2 billion
KHI stock exchange (100-Index)
$ 5 billion at 700 points
$ 75 billion at 14,000 points
$ 56 billion at 9,000 points
Foreign Direct Investment
$ 1 billion
$ 8.4 billion
$ 5.19 billion
$ 4.6 billion
65% of GDP
26% of GDP
Rs. 80 billion
Rs. 520 billion
Rs. 549.7 billion
Rs. 880 billion
Economic Comparison 1999-2008
Main article: Karachi Stock Exchange
In the first four years of the twenty-first century, Pakistan’s KSE 100 Index was the best-performing stock market index in the world as declared by the international magazine usiness Week. The stock market capitalisation of listed companies in Pakistan was valued at $5,937 million in 2005 by the World Bank. . But in 2008, after the General Elections, uncertain political environment, rising militancy along western borders of the country, and mounting inflation and current account deficits resulted in the steep decline of the Karachi Stock Exchange. As a result, the corporate sector of Pakistan has declined dramatically in significance in recent times.
Manufacturing and finance
Pakistan’s manufacturing sector has experienced double-digit growth in recent years, from 2000 to 2007, with large-scale manufacturing growing from a minimal 1.5% in 1999 to a record 19.9% in 2004-05 and averaged 8.8% by end of 2007. .
The Federal Bureau of Statistics valued the finance and insurance sector at Rs.311,741 million in 2005 thus registering over 166% growth since 2000. A reduction in the fiscal deficit has resulted in less government borrowing in the domestic money market, lower interest rates, and an expansion in private sector lending to businesses and consumers.
Growing middle class
Measured by purchasing power, Pakistan has a 30 million strong middle class, according to Dr. Ishrat Husain, Ex-Governor (2 December 1999 – 1 December 2005) of the State Bank of Pakistan. It is a figure that correlates with research by Standard Chartered Bank which estimates that Pakistan possesses a “a middle class of 30 million people that Standard Chartered estimates now earn an average of about $10,000 a year.” Latest figures put Pakistan’s Middle Class at 35 million strong. In addition, Pakistan has a growing upper & upper middle class, estimated at 6.8 million in 2002 and projected to grow to 17 million people by the year 2010, with relatively high per capita incomes.
On measures of income inequality, the country ranks slightly better than the median. In late 2006, the Central Board of Revenue estimated that there were almost 2.8 million income-tax payers in the country.
Poverty levels have decreased by 10% since 2001 Foreign Companies which provide for Pakistani middle classes have been very successful. For example, demand for Uniliver products have recently been so high that even after doubling production the Anglo-Dutch company struggled to meet demand and it’s Chairman stated “Pakistanis can seem to have enough”.
Poverty alleviation expenditures
Main article: Poverty in Pakistan
Poverty in Pakistan
Pakistan government spent over 1 trillion Rupees (about $16.7 billion) on poverty alleviation programs during the past four years, cutting poverty from 35 percent in 2000-01 to 24 percent in 2006. Rural poverty remains a pressing issue, as development there has been far slower than in the major urban areas.
Main article: Demographics of Pakistan
With a per capita GDP of over $3000 (PPP, 2006) compared with $2600 (PPP, 2005) in 2005 the World Bank considers Pakistan a medium-income country, it is also recorded as a “Medium Development Country” on the Human Development Index 2007. Pakistan has a large informal economy, which the government is trying to document and assess. Approximately 49% of adults are literate, and life expectancy is about 64 years. The population, about 168 million in 2007, is growing at about 1.80%.
Relatively few resources in the past had been devoted to socio-economic development or infrastructure projects. Inadequate provision of social services, high birth rates and immigration from nearby countries in the past have contributed to a persistence of poverty. An influential recent study concluded that the fertility rate peaked in the 1980s, and has since fallen sharply. Pakistan has a family-income Gini index of 41, close to the world average of 39.
The high population growth in the past few decades has ensured that a very large number of young people are now entering the labor market. Even though it is among the seven most populous Asian nations, Pakistan has a lower population density than Bangladesh, Japan, India, and the Philippines. In the past, excessive red tape made firing from jobs, and consequently hiring, difficult. Significant progress in taxation and business reforms has ensured that many firms now are not compelled to operate in the underground economy.
In late 2006, the government launched an ambitious nationwide service employment scheme aimed at disbursing almost $2 billion over five years.
Main article: Tourism in Pakistan
Tourism in Pakistan is a growing industry. Major attractions include ruins of Indus valley civilisation and mountain resorts in the Himalayas. Himalayan and Karakoram range (which includes K2, the second highest mountain peak in the world, attracts adventurers and mountaineers from around the world. Karachi and Lahore are major attractions for authentic Pakistani food and culture.
The Board of Revenue has collected nearly one trillion Rupees($14.1 billion) in taxes in the 2007-2008 financial year.
Main article: Pakistani Rupee
The 500 rupee note
The Pakistani Rupee was pegged to the US Dollar until 1982. When the government of General Zia-ul-Haq, changed it to managed float. This has been regarded as the best decision by Zia. As a result, the rupee devalued by 38.5% between 1982/83 and 1987/88 and the anti-export bias in the economy was reduced. The basic unit of currency is the Rupee, ISO code PKR and abbreviated Rs, which is divided into 100 paisas. Currently the newly printed 5,000 rupee note is the largest denomination in circulation. Recently the SBP has introduced all new design notes of Rs. 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000, and 5000 denomination, while the design work of Rs.10,000 note is in progress which will help the banking industry in keeping few notes in saving accounts. The new notes have been designed using the euro technology and are made in eye-catching bright colours and bold, stylish designs.
Dollar-Rupee exchange rate
Foreign exchange rate
1 Pakistani Rupee (PKR) = 100 Paisa
The Pakistani rupee depreciated against the US dollar until the turn of the century, when Pakistan’s large current-account surplus pushed the value of the rupee up versus the dollar. Pakistan’s central bank then stabilized by lowering interest rates and buying dollars, in order to preserve the country’s export competitiveness
Exchange rates: Pakistani rupee (PKR) per US$1
PKR per US dollar 1995-2008
Source: PKR exchange rates in USD, SBP
Foreign exchange reserves
By October 2007, at the end of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz tenure, Pakistan raised back its Foreign Reserves to $16.4 billion. Pakistan’s trade deficit was at $13 billion, exports grew to $18 billion, revenue generation increased to become $13 billion and the country attracted foreign investment of $8.4 billion.
On October 11, 2008 State Bank of Pakistan reported that country’s foreign exchange reserves had gone down by $571.9 Million to $7749.7 Million. The foreign exchange reserves had declined more by $10 billion to an alarming rate of $6.59 billion.
Structure of economy
The economy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is suffering with high inflation rates well above 26%. Over 1,081 patent applications were filed by non-resident Pakistanis in 2004 revealing a new-found confidence. Agriculture accounted for about 53% of GDP in 1947. While per-capita agricultural output has grown since then, it has been outpaced by the growth of the non-agricultural sectors, and the share of agriculture has dropped to roughly one-fifth of Pakistan’s economy. In recent years, the country has seen rapid growth in industries (such as apparel, textiles, and cement) and services (such as telecommunications, transportation, advertising, and finance).
Sectoral contribution to GDP Growth
Most of the recent acceleration in GDP growth has come from the industrial and service sectors.
GDP growth by sector, as a percentage of GDP
Real GDP (fc)
Source: Economic Survey of Pakistan 2005
Structure of production
Share of Various Sectors in GDP
5. Energy Distribution
6. Transportation & Comm.
8. Finance & Insurance
9. Ownership of Dwellings
10. Public Admin. & Defense
11. Other Services
Note: GDP is estimated at constant factor cost. Figures are in percentage.
Source: Economic Survey of Pakistan 2005
Main article: Agriculture in Pakistan
Agriculture by Province
Mango Orchard in Multan, Pakistan
Pakistan is one of the world’s largest producers and suppliers of the following according to the 2005 Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations and FAOSTAT given here with ranking:
Date Palm (6th)
Tangerines, mandarin orange, clementine (8th)
Pakistan ranks fifth in the Muslim world and twentieth worldwide in farm output. It is the world’s fifth largest milk producer.
Pakistan’s principal natural resources are arable land and water. About 25% of Pakistan’s total land area is under cultivation and is watered by one of the largest irrigation systems in the world. Pakistan irrigates three times more acres than Russia. Agriculture accounts for about 23% of GDP and employs about 44% of the labor force. Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited is the largest financial institution geared towards the development of agriculture sector through provision of financial services and technical know how.
Main article: Industry of Pakistan
Manufacturing by Province
Pakistan’s two leading companies, as per Forbes Global 2000 ranking for 2005.
Oil & Gas Development
Forbes Global 2000
Pakistan ranks forty-first in the world and fifty-fifth worldwide in factory output.
Pakistan’s industrial sector accounts for about 24% of GDP. Cotton textile production and apparel manufacturing are Pakistan’s largest industries, accounting for about 66% of the merchandise exports and almost 40% of the employed labour force. Other major industries include cement, fertilizer, edible oil, sugar, steel, tobacco, chemicals, machinery, and food processing.
The government is privatizing large-scale parastatal units, and the public sector accounts for a shrinking proportion of industrial output, while growth in overall industrial output (including the private sector) has accelerated. Government policies aim to diversify the country’s industrial base and bolster export industries.
Industries: textiles (8.5% of the GDP), fertilizer, cement, oil refineries, dairy products,food processing, beverages, construction materials, clothing, paper products, shrimp
Industrial production growth rate: 6% (2005)
Large-scale manufacturing growth rate: 19.9% (2005)
Pakistan is an emerging market for automobiles and automotive parts offers immense business and investment opportunities. The total contribution of Auto industry to GDP in 2007 is 2.8% which is likely to increase up to 5.6% in the next 5 years. Auto sector presently, contributes 16% to the manufacturing sector which also is expected to increase 25% in the next 7 years.
As of 2009, Pakistan is one of the largest users of CNG (compressed natural gas) in the world. Presently, more than 2,900 CNG stations are operating in the country in 85 cities and towns, and 1000 more would be set up in the next three years. It has provided employment to over 50,000 people in Pakistan.
In 1947, Pakistan had inherited four cement plants with a total capacity of 0.5 million tons. Some expansion took place in 195666 but could not keep pace with the economic development and the country had to resort to imports of cement in 1976-77 and continued to do so till 1994-95. The cement sector comprising of 27 plants is contributing above Rs 30 billion to the national exchequer in the form of taxes.
Pakistan IT industry has been rising steadily since the last three years. A marked increase in software export figures are an indication of this booming industry potential. The total number of IT companies increased to 1306 and the total estimated size of IT industry is $2.8 billion. In 2007, Pakistan was for the first time featured in the Global Services Location Index by A.T. Kearney and was rated as the 30th best location for offshoring By 2009, Pakistan had improved its rank by ten places to reach 20th.
The Textile Industry is dominated by Punjab. For example, only 1.5 million people from NWFP are employed in the Industry. 3% of United States imports regarding clothing and other form of textiles is covered by Pakistan. Textile exports in 1999 were $5.2 billion and rose to become $10.5 billion by 2007. Textile exports managed to increase at a very decent growth of 16% in 2006. In the period July 2007 June 2008, textile exports were US$10.62 billion. Textile exports share in total export of Pakistan has declined from 67% in 1997 to 55% in 2008, as exports of other non-textile sectors grew.
Pakistan is endowed with significant mineral resources and emerging as a very promising area for prospecting/exploration of mineral deposits. Bases on available information, the country’s more than 6,00,000 km of outcrops area demonstrates varied geological potential for metallic and non-metallic mineral deposits. Except oil, gas and nuclear minerals regulated at federal level, Minerals are a provincial subject, under the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Provincial governments are responsible for development and exploitation of minerals, besides, enforcing regulatory regime. In line with the constitutional framework the federal and provincial governments have jointly set out Pakistan first National Mineral Policy in 1995, duly implemented by the provinces, providing appropriate institutional and regulatory framework and equitable and internationally competitive fiscal regime.
In the recent past, exploration by government agencies as well as by multinational mining companies presents ample evidence of the occurrences of sizeable minerals deposits. Recent discoveries of a thick oxidized zone underlain by sulphide zones in the shield area of the Punjab province, covered by thick alluvial cover have opened new vistas for metallic minerals exploration. Pakistan has large base for industrial minerals. The discovery of coal deposits having over 175 billion tones of reserves at Thar in the Sindh province has given an impetus to develop it as an alternate source of energy. There is vast potential for precious and dimension stones.
The enforcement of Mineral Policy (1995) has paved way to expand mining sector activities and attract international investment in this sector. International mining companies have responded favorably to the NMP and presently at least four are engaged in mineral projects development.
Currently about 52 minerals are under exploitation although on small scale. The major production is of coal, rock salt and other industrial and construction minerals. The current contribution of mineral sector to the GDB is about 0.5% and likely to increase considerably on the development and commercial exploitation of Saindak & Reco Diq copper & Gold deposits (World Largest Gold Mine), Duddar Zinc lead, Thar coal and Gemstone deposits.
Service Sector by Province
Pakistan’s service sector accounts for about 53.3% of GDP. Transport, storage, communications, finance, and insurance account for 24% of this sector, and wholesale and retail trade about 30%. Pakistan is trying to promote the information industry and other modern service industries through incentives such as long-term tax holidays.
The government is acutely conscious of the immense job growth opportunities in service sector and has launched aggressive privatisation of telecommunications, utilities and banking despite union unrest.
PTCL’s One Stop Shop in Islamabad
Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd has emerged as a successful Forbes 2000 conglomerate with over US $1 billion in sales in 2005. The mobile telephone market has exploded fourteen-fold since 2000 to reach a subscriber base of 91 million users in 2008, one of the highest mobile teledensities in the entire world.. In addition, there are over 6 million landlines in the country with 100% fibre-optic network and coverage via WLL in even the remotest areas.. As a result, Pakistan won the prestigious Government Leadership award of GSM Association in 2006..
The contribution of telecom sector to the national exchequer increased to Rs 110 billion in the year 2007-08 on account of general sales tax, activation charges and other steps as compared to Rs 100 billion in the year 2006-07.
The World Bank estimates that it takes about 3 days only to get a phone connection in Pakistan.
In Pakistan, following are the top mobile phone operators:
Mobilink (Parent: Orascom Telecom Holding, Egypt)
Ufone (Parent: PTCL (Etisalat), Pakistan/UAE)
Telenor (Parent: Telenor, Norway)
Warid (Parent: Abu Dhabi Group / SingTel, UAE/Singapore)
Zong (Parent: China Mobile, China)
By March 2009, Pakistan had 91 million mobile subscribers – 25 million more subscribers than reported in the same period 2008. In addition to 3.1 million fixed lines, while as many as 2.4 million are using Wireless Local Loop connections. Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Motorola along with Samsung and LG remain to be the popular brands among customers.
Pakistan is on the verge of a telecom revolution and it is by far the most attractive sector in Pakistan in terms of Foreign Direct Investment coming into the country. Since liberalisation, over the past four years, the Pakistani telecom sector has attracted more than $9 billion in foreign investments. During 2007-08, the Pakistani communication sector alone received $1.62 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) about 30% of the country total foreign direct investment.
Present growth of state-of-the-art infrastructures in telecom sector during the last four years has been the result of the PTA’s vision and implementation of deregulation policy. Paging and mobile (cellular) telephones were adopted early and freely. Cellular phones and the Internet were adopted through a rather laissez-faire policy with a proliferation of private service providers that led to fast adoption. With a rapid increase in the number of Internet users and ISPs, and a large English-speaking population, Pakistani society has seen an unparalleled revolution in communications.
According to the PC World, a total of 6.37 billion text messages were sent through Acision messaging systems across Asia Pacific over the 2008/2009 Christmas and New Year period. Pakistan was amongst the top five ranker with one of the highest SMS traffic with 763 million messages.
Pakistan is ranked 4th in terms of broadband Internet growth in the world, as the subscriber base of broadband Internet has been increasing rapidly. The rankings are released by Point Topic Global broadband analysis, a global research centre.
Pakistan has more than 17 million Internet users in 2009. The country is said to have a potential to absorb up to 50 million mobile phone Internet users in the next 5 years thus a potential of nearly 1 million connections per month.
Almost all of the main government departments, organisations and institutions have their own websites.
The use of search engines and instant messaging services is also booming. Pakistanis are some of the most ardent chatters on the Internet, communicating with users all over the world. Recent years have seen a huge increase in the use of online marriage services, for example, leading to a major re-alignment of the tradition of arranged marriages.
As of 2007 there were six cell phone companies operating in the country with nearly 90 million mobile phone users in the country.
Wireless local loop and the landline telephony sector has also been liberalized and private sector has entered thus increasing the teledensity rate. In mid-2008, the Local Loop installed capacity reached around 5.5 million.
Telecom industry created of 80,000 jobs directly and 500,000 jobs indirectly.
The Federal Bureau of Statistics provisionally valued this sector at Rs.982,353 million in 2005 thus registering over 91% growth since 2000.
Main article: Pakistan Railways
A massive rehabilitation plan worth $1 billion over five years for Pakistan Railways has been announced by the government in 2005. A new rail link trial has been established from Islamabad-Pakistan via Teharan-Iran Via Istanbul-Turkey .Furthermore it would promote trade ,tourism, and would also would serve as an effective link for exports to Europe (as Turkey part of Europe and Asia] .
See also: List of airlines of Pakistan
A PIA B747-367 at the Domestic Satellite of Jinnah International Airport
Pakistan International Airlines, the flagship airline of Pakistan’s civil aviation industry, has turnover exceeding $1 billion in 2005. The government announced a new shipping policy in 2006 permitting banks and financial institutions to mortgage ships.
Private sector airlines in Pakistan include Airblue and Shaheen Air International. Many private airlines are in the pipeline including Air Mashreq, Dewan Air, and Pearl Air.
Airblue is using state-of-the-art Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft for flying domestically, to the UAE, Oman, and UK; and will soon commence Norway, Kuwait, Malaysia, and India operations. Airblue has recently ordered six factory-fresh A321 aircraft, while two dry-leased aircraft will also soon be added to the existing fleet of five, making it the second biggest fleet behind PIA, which has 42 aircraft.
Wholesale and retail trade
The Federal Bureau of Statistics provisionally valued this sector at Rs.1,358,309 million in 2005 thus registering over 96% growth since 2000.
Finance and insurance
See also: List of Banks in Pakistan
A reduction in the fiscal deficit has resulted in less government borrowing in the domestic money market, lower interest rates, and an expansion in private sector lending to businesses and consumers. Foreign exchange reserves continued to reach new levels in 2007, supported by robust export growth and steady worker remittances.
Pakistan has been ranked 34 out of 52 countries in the World Economic Forum’s first Financial Development Report, which was released in Pakistan through the Competitiveness Support Fund (CSF) in December, 2008. Under Factors, Policies and Institutions pillar, Pakistan ranks 49th in institutional environment, 50th in business environment and 37th in Financial Stability. In the Financial Intermediation Pillar Pakistan ranks 25th in banks, 42nd in non banks and 17th in Financial Markets. Under Capital Availability and Access, Pakistan ranks 33rd.
Pakistan’s banking sector has remained remarkably strong and resilient during the world financial crisis in 200809, a feature which has served to attract a substantial amount of FDI in the sector. Stress tests conducted on June 2008 data indicate that the large banks are relatively robust, with the medium and small-sized banks positioning themselves in niche markets. Banking sector turned profitable in 2002. Their profits continued to rise for the next five years and peaked to Rs 84.1 ($1.1 billion) billion in 2006.
The credit card market continued its strong growth with sales crossing the 1 million mark in mid-2005. Since 2000 Pakistani banks have begun aggressive marketing of consumer finance to the emerging middle class, allowing for a consumption boom (more than a 7-month waiting list for certain car models) as well as a construction bonanza.
The Federal Bureau of Statistics provisionally valued this sector at Rs.311,741 million in 2005 thus registering over 166% growth since 2000.
Ownership of dwellings
The property sector has expanded twenty-threefold since 2001, particularly in metropolises like Lahore. Nevertheless, the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimated in late 2006 that the overall production of housing units in Pakistan has to be increased to 0.5 million units annually to address 6.1 million backlog of housing in Pakistan for meeting the housing shortfall in next 20 years. The report noted that the present housing stock is also rapidly aging and an estimate suggests that more than 50 percent of stock is over 50 years old. It is also estimated that 50 percent of the urban population now lives in slums and squatter settlements. The report said that meeting the backlog in housing, besides replacement of out-lived housing units, is beyond the financial resources of the government. This necessitates putting in place a framework to facilitate financing in the formal private sector and mobilise non-government resources for a market-based housing finance system.
The Federal Bureau of Statistics provisionally valued this sector at Rs.185,376 million in 2005 thus registering over 49% growth since 2000.
Public administration and defence
The Federal Bureau of Statistics provisionally valued this sector at Rs.389,545 million in 2005 thus registering over 65% growth since 2000.
Social, community and personal services
The Federal Bureau of Statistics provisionally valued this sector at Rs.631,229 million in 2005 thus registering over 78% growth since 2000.
Main article: Electricity sector in Pakistan
For years, the matter of balancing Pakistan’s supply against the demand for electricity has remained a largely unresolved matter. Pakistan faces a significant challenge in revamping its network responsible for the supply of electricity. While the government claims credit for overseeing a turnaround in the economy through a comprehensive recovery, it has just failed to oversee a similar improvement in the quality of the network for electricity supply. Some officials even go as far as claiming that the frequent power cuts across Pakistan today are indicative of an emerging prosperity as there is fast-rising demand for electricity. And yet, the failure to meet the demand is indeed indicative of a challenge to that very prosperity. This is despite Pakistan having tremendous potential to generate wind power. Apart from this, most cities in Pakistan receive substantial sunlight throughout the year, which would suggest good conditions for investment in solar energy.
Recently, the minister for Water and Power Development, Raja Pervez Ashraf, has claimed that load-shedding will end by December 2009 through employing rental power generation units and that the country will be self-sufficient by the year 2011. Critics[who?] argue that this is overly optimistic.
Foreign trade, remittances, aid, and investment
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan soared by 180.6 per cent year-on-year to US$2.22 billion and portfolio investment by 276 per cent to $407.4 million during the first nine months of fiscal year 2006, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reported on April 24. During July-March 2005-06, FDI year-on-year increased to $2.224 billion from only $792.6 million and portfolio investment to $407.4 million, whereas it was $108.1 million in the corresponding period last year, according to the latest statistics released by the State Bank. Pakistan has achieved FDI of almost $8.4 billion in the financial year 06/07, surpassing the government target of $4 billion.
Pakistan is now the most investment-friendly nation in South Asia. Business regulations have been profoundly overhauled along liberal lines, especially since 1999. Most barriers to the flow of capital and international direct investment have been removed. Foreign investors do not face any restrictions on the inflow of capital, and investment of up to 100% of equity participation is allowed in most sectors. Unlimited remittance of profits, dividends, service fees or capital is now the rule. Business regulations are now among the most liberal in the region. This was confirmed by the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index report published in September 2009 ranking Pakistan (at 85th) well ahead of neighbours like China (at 89th) and India (at 133rd).
Pakistan is attracting an increasingly large amount of private equity and was the ranked as number 20 in the world based on the amount of private equity entering the nation. Pakistan has been able to attract a large portion of the global private equity investments because of economic reforms initiated in 2003 that have provided foreign investors with greater assurances for the stability of the nation and their ability to repatriate invested funds in the future.
Tariffs have been reduced to an average rate of 16%, with a maximum of 25% (except for the car industry). The privatisation process, which started in the early 1990s, has gained momentum, with most of the banking system privately owned, and the oil sector targeted to be the next big privatisation operation.
The recent improvements in the economy and the business environment have been recognised by international rating agencies such as Moody and Standard and Poor (country risk upgrade at the end of 2003).
Foreign acquisitions and mergers
With the rapid growth in Pakistan’s economy, foreign investors are taking a keen interest in the corporate sector of Pakistan. In recent years, majority stakes in many corporations have been acquired by multinational groups.
PICIC by Singapore based Temasek Holdings for $339 million
Union Bank by Standard Chartered Bank for $487 million
Prime Commercial Bank by ABN Amro for $228 million
PakTel by China Mobile for $460 million
PTCL by Etisalat for $1.8 billion
Additional 57.6% shares of Lakson Tobacco Company acquired by Philip Morris International for $382 million
The foreign exchange receipts from these sales are also helping cover the current account deficit.
Pakistani exports in 2005
Pakistan is a member of the World Trade Organization, and has bilateral and multilateral trade agreements with many nations and international organizations.
Fluctuating world demand for its exports, domestic political uncertainty, and the impact of occasional droughts on its agricultural production have all contributed to variability in Pakistan’s trade deficit.
In the six months to December 2003, Pakistan recorded a current account surplus of $1.761 billion, roughly 5% of GDP. Pakistan’s exports continue to be dominated by cotton textiles and apparel, despite government diversification efforts. Exports grew by 19.1% in FY 2002-03. Major imports include petroleum and petroleum products, edible oil, chemicals, fertilizer, capital goods, industrial raw materials, and consumer products.
Past external imbalances left Pakistan with a large foreign debt burden. Principal and interest payments in FY 1998-99 totaled $2.6 billion, more than double the amount paid in FY 1989-90. Annual debt service peaked at over 34% of export earnings before declining.
With a current account surplus in recent years, Pakistan’s hard currency reserves have grown rapidly. Improved fiscal management, greater transparency and other governance reforms have led to upgrades in Pakistan’s credit rating. Together with lower global interest rates, these factors have enabled Pakistan to prepay, refinance and reschedule its debts to its advantage. Despite the country’s current account surplus and increased exports in recent years, Pakistan still has a large merchandise-trade deficit. The budget deficit in fiscal year 1996-97 was 6.4% of GDP. The budget deficit in fiscal year 2003-04 is expected to be around 4% of GDP.
In the late 1990s Pakistan received about $2.5 billion per year in loan/grant assistance from international financial institutions (e.g., the IMF, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank) and bilateral donors. Increasingly, the composition of assistance to Pakistan shifted away from grants toward loans repayable in foreign exchange. All new U.S. economic assistance to Pakistan was suspended after October 1990, and additional sanctions were imposed after Pakistan’s May 1998 nuclear weapons tests. The sanctions were lifted by president George W. Bush after Pakistani president Musharraf allied Pakistan with the U.S. in its war on terror. Having improved its finances, the government refused further IMF assistance, and consequently the IMF program was ended. The government is also reducing tariff barriers with bilateral and multilateral agreements.
While the country has a current account surplus and both imports and exports have grown rapidly in recent years, it still has a large merchandise-trade deficit. The budget deficit in fiscal year 2004-2005 was 3.4% of GDP. The budget deficit in fiscal year 2005-06 is expected to be over 4% of GDP. Economists believe that the soaring trade deficit would have an adverse impact on Pakistani rupee by depreciating its value against dollar (1 US $ = 60 Rupees (March 2006) ) and other currencies.
One of the main reasons that contributed to the increase in trade deficit is the increased imports of earthquake relief related items, especially tents, tarpaulin and plastic sheets to provide temporary shelter to the survivors of earthquake of October 8, 2005 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and parts of the NWFP, an official said. The rise in the trade gap was also fuelled by high oil import prices, food items, machinery and automobiles.
The Petroleum Ministry says that this year the bill of oil imports was expected to reach $6.5 billion against $4.6 billion in the last fiscal year, which is the main reason behind the all-time high trade deficit.
The EU is the single largest trading partner of Pakistan absorbing over one-third of the exports in 2003.
Pakistan produces export quality Footballs
Pakistan’s exports increased more than 100% from $7.5 billion in 1999 to stand at $18 billion in the financial year 2007-2008.
Pakistan exports rice, furniture, cotton fiber, cement, tiles, marble, textiles, clothing, leather goods, sports goods (renowned for footballs/soccer balls), surgical instruments, electrical appliances, software, carpets, and rugs, ice cream, livestock meat, chicken, powdered milk, wheat, seafood (especially shrimp/prawns), vegetables, processed food items, Pakistani assembled Suzukis (to Afghanistan and other countries), defense equipment (submarines, tanks, radars), salt, marble, onyx, engineering goods, and many other items. Pakistan now is being very well recognized for producing and exporting cements in Asia and Mid-East. In August 2007, Pakistan had started exporting cement to India in order to fill in the shortage there caused by the building boom.
Pakistan’s imports stood at $30.54 billion in the financial year 2006-2007, up by 8.22 percent from last year’s imports of $28.58 billion.
Pakistan’s single largest import category is petroleum and petroleum products. Other imports include: industrial machinery, construction machinery, trucks, automobiles, computers, computer parts, medicines, pharmaceutical products, food items, civilian aircraft, defense equipment, iron, steel, toys, electronics, and other consumer items.
Sales tax is levied at 15 percent both on imports and domestically produced products. The income withholding tax is levied at 6 percent on imports and at 3.5 percent on the sales of domestic taxpayers.
Pakistan suffered a merchandise trade deficit of $13.528 billion for the financial year 2006-7. The gap has considerably widened since 2002-3 when the deficit was only $1.06 billion. Services sector deficit for 2006-2007 stood at $4.125 billion which equals the services export of $4.125 billion for the same year.
The combined deficit in services and goods stand at $17.653 billion which is approx 83.5 percent of country’s total export of $21.136 (Goods and services). The rise in the trade gap has been attributed to high oil import bill, and rise in the prices of food items, machinery and automobiles.
Current account deficit – Current account deficit for 2006-7 reached $7.016 billion up by 41 percent over previous year’s $4.490 billion.
Since the beginning of 2008, Pakistan’s economic outlook has taken a dramatic downturn. Security concerns stemming from the nation’s role in the War on Terror have created great instability and led to a decline in FDI from a height of approximately $8 bn to $3.5bn for the current fiscal year. Concurrently, the insurgency has forced massive capital flight from Pakistan to the Gulf. Combined with high global commodity prices, the dual impact has shocked Pakistan’s economy, with gaping trade deficits, high inflation and a crash in the value of the Rupee, which has fallen from 60-1 USD to over 80-1 USD in a few months. For the first time in years, it may have to seek external funding as Balance of Payments support. Consequently, S&P lowered Pakistan foreign currency debt rating to CCC-plus from B, just several notches above a level that would indicate default. Pakistan local currency debt rating was lowered to B-minus from BB-minus. Credit agency Moody Investors Service cut its outlook on Pakistan debt to negative from stable due to political uncertainty, though it maintained the country rating at B2.The cost of protection against a default in Pakistan sovereign debt trades at 1,800 basis points, according to its five year credit default swap, a level that indicates investors believe the country is already in or will soon be in default .
The middle term however may be less turbulent, depending on the political environment. The EIU estimates that inflation should drop back to single digits in 2010, and that growth should pick up to over 5% per annum by 2011. Although less than the previous 5 year average of 7%, it would represent a overcoming of the present crisis wherein growth is a mere 3.5-4%.
Pakistan receives economic aid from several sources as loans and grants. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), etc provides long term loans to Pakistan. Pakistan also receives bilateral aid from developed and oil-rich countries.
The Asian Development Bank will provide close to $6 billion development assistance to Pakistan during 2006-9. The World Bank unveiled a lending program of up to $6.5 billion for Pakistan under a new four-year, 2006-2009, aid strategy showing a significant increase in funding aimed largely at beefing up the country’s infrastructure. Japan will provide $500 million annual economic aid to Pakistan. In November 2008, The International Monetary Fund(IMF) has approved a loan of 7.6 Billion to Pakistan, to help Stabilize and rebuild the country’s economy. More recently the govt of Pakistan received an economic aid of US $5bn dollars out of which the US pledge of $1bn was described as a down-payment on the previously announced $1.5bn already promised to Pakistan for each of the next five years.The European Union promised $640m over four years, while reports said Saudi Arabia had pledged $700m over two years. Overall Friends of Pakistan had pledged $1.6 billion in aid, which would help Pakistan move forward on its way to self-reliance.
The remittances of Pakistanis living abroad has played important role in Pakistan’s economy and foreign exchange reserves. The Pakistanis settled in Western Europe and North America are important sources of remittances to Pakistan. Since 1973 the Pakistani workers in the oil rich Arab states have been sources of billions dollars of remittances.
The 7 million strong Pakistani diaspora, contributed US$8 billion to the economy in 2008. The major source countries of remittances to Pakistan include UAE, USA, Saudi Arabia, GCC countries (including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman),Australia, Canada, Japan, UK and EU countries like Norway, Switzerland, etc .
An IMF research paper has revealed that workers remittances contribute 4% to the GDP of Pakistan and are equivalent to about 22 percent of annual exports of goods and services.
Fiscal budget summary
Fiscal year: 1 July – 30 June
Revenues: $19.8 billion
Debt – external: $39.94 billion (2005 est.)
Economic aid – recipient: $2 billion (FY97/98)
Revenues and taxation
This section needs attention from an expert on the subject. See the talk page for details. WikiProject Economics or the Economics Portal may be able to help recruit an expert. (October 2009)
Pakistan has a low tax/GDP ratio, which it is trying to improve.
Government expenditures were $25 billion (2006 est.)
Pakistan is expected to sell a dual-tranche sovereign bond worth $750 million on March 23, 2006 that analysts said should ensure a favorable reception in the bond market. The 10-year tranche would be $500 million and the 30-year portion $250 million. Pricing is expected during New York trading hours on March 23, 2006. The sources said that the 10-year tranche was expected to be priced at around 7.125 percent, while the longer-dated tranche was expected to be sold at around 7.875 percent, the top end of the indicative yield range of 7.75 to 7.875 percent.
The bonds, comprising 10-year and 30-year tranches, had generated $1.5 billion in orders and a total size of as much as $1.25 billion had been anticipated for what is Pakistan third foray into the international debt market since 2004.
Government of Pakistan has been raising money from the international debt market from time to time.
Details of amount raised in various issues is as follows:
1999 – $623 million
2004 – $500 million @ 6.75 Percent
2005 – $600 million worth Islamic bonds
2007 – $ 750 million @ 6.875 Percent worth Euro Bonds which were highly over subscribed
Gini Index: 41
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 4.1%
highest 10%: 27.7% (1996)
lowest 20% : 27.7% (2006)
Ministry of Commerce (Pakistan)
List of tariffs in Pakistan
Ministry of Finance (Pakistan)
Pakistan Board of Investment
Trading Corporation of Pakistan
Rice Export Association of Pakistan
Economy of the OIC
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