Ashraf Mahmood Wathra: Improvements in Pakistan's economy and opportunities for investment

Address by Mr Ashraf Mahmood Wathra, Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, for the Bloomberg Economic Forum, Karachi, 23 November 2016.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
13 March 2017

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,


I would like to begin by thanking Bloomberg for organising this discussion, and for inviting me to speak on the improvements in Pakistan's economy and the opportunities for investment these improvements have opened up.

As Pakistan enters the next phase of its growth story, I feel that it is important to take a dispassionate look at the past three years, and see how far along we have come, as a country. A review of some key macroeconomic indicators is in order here. From FY09 to FY13, real GDP growth averaged just 2.8 percent; this increased to above 4 percent over the next three years. In fact, real GDP growth touched an eight-year high in FY16. Meanwhile, the government's ongoing fiscal consolidation efforts limited the average budget deficit to 4.6 percent in FY16, against 8.2 percent in FY13.

Moreover, the country's foreign exchange reserves continue on their rising trajectory: the country's FX reserves are now hovering around US$ 24 billion, which are enough to finance over seven months of the country's import bill. To put this in context, just three years back, our reserves couldn't even finance three months of imports!