In the first quarter of the fiscal year 2023-24, Pakistan’s economy exhibited signs of recovery with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 2.13 per cent, marking a significant improvement from the 0.96 per cent recorded in the same period of the previous fiscal year, according to estimates released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Tuesday. 

These estimates gained approval during the 107th National Accounts Committee (NAC) meeting convened on the same day.  

To align with the structural benchmarks outlined in the IMF-SBA program, PBS engaged in consultations with stakeholders and data providers. They presented revised GDP figures for both the fiscal year 2022-23 and the first quarter of 2023-24 to the NAC. 

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In a noteworthy development, the NAC also sanctioned the incorporation of quarterly national accounts into the country’s statistical system. 

Revisiting the GDP figures for the fiscal year 2022-23, the growth rate has been revised to -0.17 per cent, a departure from the provisional report of 0.29 per cent. 

Breaking down the growth by industry, the 107th NAC greenlit a sector-specific methodology for compiling quarterly GDP. This includes a series of quarterly growth rates for various industries spanning from the first quarter of 2016-17 to the first quarter of 2023, with 2015-16 serving as the base year. 

For the first quarter of 2023-24, the agricultural sector exhibited growth of 5.06 per cent, the industrial sector 2.48 per cent, and services 0.82 per cent. 

In agriculture, crops recorded a robust growth of 6.13 per cent, with a notable 11.16 per cent increase in important crops.  

The expansion is attributed to a rise in the sowing area, particularly for rice, cotton, and maize, with increases of 21 per cent, 11 per cent, and 5 per cent, respectively. Sugarcane saw an 11 per cent decline, but this was offset by growth in other major crops. 

The industrial sector, which experienced a continuous decline in the preceding fiscal year except for a modest growth in the second quarter, reversed its trend in the first quarter of 2023-24, registering a growth of 2.48 per cent. Mining and quarrying posted a positive growth of 2.15 per cent, based on quarterly production in the mining sector.  

Large-Scale Manufacturing (LSM) demonstrated growth of 0.93 per cent according to the Quantum Index of Manufacturing (QIM). Construction industry growth was estimated at 1.73 per cent, with a notable 15.38 per cent increase in cement production. 

In services, the overall growth was 0.82 per cent. Wholesale and retail trade, reliant on the output of agriculture, manufacturing, and imports, was estimated at 3.05 per cent due to positive growth in agriculture and industry.  

Transport grew by 1.7 per cent, based on quarterly data. Information & Communication, previously negative, showed a growth of 2.4 per cent, primarily due to a low base and quarterly information received from sources. 

The finance and insurance industry reported a growth of -12.79 per cent, driven by a decline in the output of insurance companies and brokers, along with high growth in the deflator.  

Public administration reported -16.65 per cent growth in the quarter, with high deflators contributing to a decline in constant prices.  

Negative growth in education and human health and social work activities was largely influenced by a decrease in government budget data along with a high deflator.