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UPDATE 3-Pakistan, as part of IMF bailout, sets 4.8% GDP growth target

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(Addition of deficit and expenditure figures, ministerial quotes)

ISLAMABAD, June 11 (Reuters) – Pakistan, in talks with the IMF over its $ 6 billion bailout package, on Friday set a growth target of 4.8 percent of GDP for fiscal year 2021-2022 and a budget deficit target of 6.3%.

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin included the targets as he presented Pakistan’s annual budget to parliament, with a total expenditure of 8.4 trillion rupees ($ 53.93 billion).

Pakistan, which borders India, Afghanistan and Iran, exceeded growth projections for fiscal year 2020-21 despite a third wave of COVID-19 infections, with GDP growth of 3, 96%, against a target of 2.1%.

We want to ensure a growth rate of 6-7% in the next two or three years, Tarin told MPs, including Prime Minister Imran Khan. We have successfully moved on from stabilization to growth.

The Pakistani economy contracted by 0.47% in 2019-2020.

Siskins’ speech was interrupted by opposition MPs protesting the economic performance of the Khan government.

Tarin said Pakistan would set a target of 5.8 trillion rupees ($ 37.24 billion) in tax revenue for the next fiscal year, with around 2 trillion rupees in non-tax revenue.

Pakistan is in talks with the IMF as part of the sixth review of a 39-month bailout program, which began in 2019.

The revenue target has been a key topic, and Tarin said the IMF and government have discussed ways to achieve the target, which is 23% higher than the expected collection for the current year.

The budget document shared with Reuters said one of the main goals was to continue the IMF’s program, although Pakistan said it was seeking relaxation of some restructuring targets.

The budget also seeks to strike a balance between budget deficits due to COVID-19 and stimulating economic growth.

Tarin said Pakistan’s economy has done well despite a third wave of infections, which only declined last month.

Pakistan has earmarked $ 1.1 billion to purchase COVID-19 vaccines, Tarin said, aiming to vaccinate 100 million of the country’s 220 million people by mid-2022.

It has administered 10,496,228 doses of the vaccine so far, while recording a total of 938,737 infections and 21,576 deaths linked to COVID-19.

DEBT DIFFICULTY

The budget deficit target was set at 6.3% of GDP, lower than the 7.1% expected the previous year. With a narrow tax base, reducing this target has long been a challenge in the face of rising debt payments.

Of Pakistan’s overall spending, 3 trillion rupees, or 35 percent, has been earmarked for debt servicing, while defense services account for 1.3 trillion rupees, or 16.3 percent and less than half remains after these two elements.

Pakistan has set aside 900 billion rupees for development spending, which is a 40% increase from the previous year, Tarin said.

The budget document showed that the deficit of 3,999 billion rupees will be filled by 1,200 billion rupees of external financing and 2,400 billion rupees of domestic financing, the remainder coming from the proceeds of privatization.

Pakistan uses the G-20 debt service suspension initiative for 20 months, from May 2020 to December 2021, which it says will help defer debt service by around $ 3.7 billion .

The inflation target for 2021-2022 has been set at 8%, with rising prices being a major concern for the government. ($ 1 = 155.7500 rupees) (Reporting by Asif Shahzad and Gibran Peshimam; Additional reporting by Charlotte Greenfield and Umar Farooq; Writing by Gibran Peshimam; Editing by Edmund Blair, Nick Macfie and Alexander Smith)

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