The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to grow by 4.0 percent by next fiscal year (2021-22). In its annual report “World Economic Outlook 2021”, the IMF has forecast 1.5 GDP growth for Pakistan during the current fiscal year 2020-21. This however, is in contrast to the revised growth forecast of 3.0 percent for current fiscal year by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). The actual growth rate target set by the federal government for the corresponding year is 2.1 percent. Minister for Finance Hammad Azhar also reaffirmed the government’s resolve to have higher GDP growth than the target set for the current fiscal year. “Pakistan’s economy this year will grow at a faster rate than earlier forecasts. Starting from next fiscal year, we will be targeting an even higher growth rate that may exceed 4% per annum. This growth will not be based on deficits or depleting reserves but will be sustainable,” he said in his tweet on Tuesday. The IMF has also forecasts the country’s inflation rate to gradually subside to 8.0 percent by next fiscal year from 8.7 percent in the year 2020-21. While, according the the IMF report the Current Account Deficit will remain 1.5 percent during current fiscal year while it will edge up to 1.8 percent by next year. The unemployment rate will remain 5.0 percent during current fiscal year and it will come down to 4.8 percent by next year. Structural reforms: Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Industries and Production, Mohammad Hammad Azhar has said that the government was fully committed to implementing structural reforms, protecting social spending and boosting social safety nets in order to protect the vulnerable segments of the society. He made these remarks in a virtual meeting with Vice President South Asia Region, World Bank Group, Hartwig Schafer, said a press statement issued by the Finance Ministry. Among others, the meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division (EAD), Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar; Federal Minister for Energy, Omar Ayub Khan; SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar; Governor State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir, Secretary Finance Division, Secretary Power Division, Secretary EAD, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue and other senior officials. The finance minister appreciated the pivotal role being played by the World Bank in strengthening governance and service delivery through institutional reforms in Pakistan over the years. He also stressed that harmonisation of General Sales Tax was a priority area for the government, adding that the federal and provincial tax authorities were working out procedures for its smooth implementation. He expressed firm resolve of the government in implementing reforms under ongoing World Bank projects and thanked the Vice President for their continued guidance and collaboration. Meanwhile, the Federal Minister for Energy and SAPM on Power outlined the steps being taken to streamline the power sector, improving service delivery and serving the larger interest of electricity consumers.