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ISLAMABAD, May 28: A rather low per capita income and manufacturing output marred an otherwise good 7.02 per cent growth rate in national economy — a fraction above the 7 per cent target — on the back of better results in agriculture and services sectors during the current financial year.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said the growth rate was better than last year’s 6.6 per cent and described it as ‘very robust growth’. It reflected the government’s positive economic policies.

He was speaking to newsmen after the finalisation of the current year’s economic data by the National Accounts Committee (NAC) headed by statistics division’s secretary. It was for the first time that results of the NAC were released before the meeting of the National Economic Council, which would meet on May 31.

He said all the three components -- agriculture, LSM and services -- of the economy performed better than expected and specifically mentioned agriculture sector that grew by 5 per cent, against a target of 4.5 per cent. Within agriculture, crop out put increased by 6 per cent and livestock by 4.3 per cent. He said these figures would further improve by next year.

Services sector was estimated to have grown by 8 per cent, against a target of 7.1 per cent but still lower than last year’s growth of 8.8 per cent. The impressive growth in services sector was chiefly because of massive profits of the banking industry that offered much lower returns to depositors against higher interest on loans.

The prime minister said the LSM output had grown by 8.8 per cent. This was, however, significantly behind the 13 per cent target for the current year and even lower than last year’s revised growth of 10.7 per cent. “I am not aware,” said the prime minister when asked as to why LSM data that used to be made public every month in the past was not available this year beyond the first quarter.

Secretary statistics, however, said that the LSM growth data had been finalised for 10 months (July-April) on the basis of information provided by relevant industries, ministry of industries and provincial governments.

The prime minister said that per capita income in 2006-07 had increased to $925, compared with $833 of last year. The government had set a target of $935 in the federal budget 2006-07 for per capita income.

Mr Aziz said the wheat output has been estimated at 23.5 million tons this year and sugarcane production at 54.7 million ton was also 10 million tons higher than last year. Both crops had performed better than expected. Cotton production, however, remained static at last year’s 13 million bales.

He said total size of the gross domestic product (GDP) had touched $146.3 billion. It was marginally higher than budgeted estimate of $145 billion.

Without releasing the full LSM data of about 100 items, the prime minister said sugar production was up by 19.6 per cent, beverages by 28.4 per cent, cotton yarn by 12 per cent, tyre and tubes by 17 per cent and 45 per cent respectively, cement by 21 per cent and steel by 24 per cent.

The prime minister said agriculture growth had been higher than expected and it would help improve the income of most people living in rural areas.

The prime minister said that all sectors of the economy would get boost in the next year budget and maintain a higher growth rate. He said the government would continue with the current policies so that benefits of higher growth were equitable and widespread.

The prime minister said national accounts of the previous years had also been revised. As a result, the GDP growth rate of 8.6 per cent in 2004-05 had improved to 9 per cent while it remained unchanged at 6.6 per cent in 2005-06.