The Economic Survey, released on Thursday claimed that Pakistan's economy performed better than many developed and developing economies during the outgoing year despite numerous challenges. Releasing the Economic Survey, a pre-budget document, Finance Minister Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh said despite difficulties the GDP growth rate remained 3.7%, which is highest in the last three years. The agriculture sector recorded a growth of 3.1 percent against 2.4% last year. The Large Scale Manufacturing growth is 1.1 percent during first nine months of the current financial year as against 1.0 percent last year. The Services sector recorded growth of four percent during the outgoing year. The Survey says despite global slowdown, Pakistan has managed to maintain its exports, which saw phenomenal growth during the year. Remittances remained buoyant and estimated at close to 13 billion dollar, an increase of 16 percent. Current account balance was affected due to sharp increase in oil prices and import of 1.2 million metric tons of fertilizer. The Finance Minister said the tax measures enforced by the Government yielded dividend. There was 24% increase in FBR tax revenues in the first ten months of the current financial year which rose to 1445 billion as compared to 1250 billion rupees last year. He said efforts are underway to reach the ambitious target of 1952 billion rupees. The Economic Survey shows that per capita real income grew at 2.3% during the year as against 1.3% last year. In dollar terms, it increased from 1258 dollar last year to 1372 dollars this year. Real investment has declined from 13.1 percent of GDP last year to 12.5% of GDP this year. Private investment also contracted to 7.9% of the GDP this year as compared to 8.6 percent last year. National savings are 10.7 percent of GDP this year as compared to 13.2 percent last year. Foreign Direct Investment stood at 668 million dollar during first ten months of the current financial year as against 1293 million dollar last year. The capital flows were affected because of global financial crunch and euro zone crisis. Oil and gas exploration remained the major sector for foreign investors. The Finance Minister said efforts are underway to broaden the tax base and simplifying the tax structure with the ultimate objective of moving towards two main taxes of income and sales taxes. A three year plan to phase out Federal Excise Duties is under implementation. He said efforts are also being made to manage the fiscal deficit within acceptable level through an expenditure management strategy, austerity measures and reforms in public sector enterprises. The Survey says the price stability remained the priority of the Government. Inflation has declined for the third consecutive year. CPI was 10.8 percent during first ten months of the year from a high of 25% in October 2008. It was in single digit in December last year. This has been achieved despite sharp increase in international oil prices, effect of upward adjustment in the administered prices of electricity and gas, supply disruptions due to floods and heavy rains and bank borrowings. Food inflation averaged 11.1 and non-food inflation 10.7%. The Survey says exports during first ten months of current financial year were 20.5 billion dollar as compared to 20.46 billion dollars last year. The Afghan Transit Trade Agreement has encouraged formal trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan and the volume has risen to around 2.5 billion dollar annually. Imports grew by 14.5% and stood at 33.1 billion dollar during first ten months of the year. The current account deficit stood at 3.4 billion dollar, which was largely because of high oil prices and import of fertilizers. Foreign exchange reserves reached to 16.5 billion dollars at the end of April this year compared to 17 billion dollar at the end of April last year. The Pak Rupee depreciated by 3.4 percent during first ten months of current financial year over the depreciation of 2.2 percent during same period last year. The country's public debt stood at 12,024 billion rupee as of March this year. During first nine months of the ongoing fiscal year, total public debt registered an increase of 1,315 billion rupees. The Economic Survey says the Ministry of Communications has prepared a draft National Transport Policy covering all modes of transport sectors. The policy includes the National Transport Corridor Improvement Programme to make it more productive and environment friendly. The National Highway Authority completed 12 projects of flyovers, bridges, interchanges and the upgrading of roads during the last one year at a cost of 19.6 billion rupees. At present, 46 development projects of roads covering about three thousand kilometers are ongoing costing 245 billion in different sections. It says the teledensity in the country has increased by 68.3 percent in April this year, showing 6.7 percent growth as compared to the previous year. Mobile penetration rose to 64.9 percent during this year as against 60.4% last year. Total mobile subscribers have reached 118.3 million by the end of March this year. There has been a cumulative investment of about 2.5 billion dollar in the electronic media industry in the country. More than two hundred thousand new jobs with diversified skills and qualifications have been provided. Additionally, over seven million people have been accommodated through indirect employment. The Survey indicates that the contribution of hydel in electricity generation increased to 33.5% in 2011. KESC contributed 8.3%; PAEC 3.6%; Kot Addu Power Company 6.2 percent; and HUBCO 9.1% to total electricity generation.IPPs contributed almost 25%. It says the Government is committed to a sustained poverty reduction strategy and to allocate a minimum of 4.5% of GDP to social and poverty related expenditures. The Benazir Income Support Programme has made a remarkable progress by providing much needed relief to over four million recipients all over the country. The programme was provided over 178 billion rupees in four years. The Finance Minister said we had our share of misfortunes, calamities, and other unforeseen crisis in the outgoing year. We noticed foreign investors interest in Pakistan waning owing to a various reasons. As a result investment from the overseas shrank alarmingly”, the federal minister said. Replying to a question, he said that no government in the world possessed any “weapon” that could shoot the skyrocketing inflation down. “We have also borne the brunt of this inflation, no government likes to watch people losing their affordability. We hope things turn for the better in the upcoming budget. Going forward Shaikh dropped clues of ease in the prices of commodities especially fuel. The minister said the budget deficit was five percent for the period July 2011 to April 2012. External forecasts predict it will nudge closer to seven percent of GDP for the fiscal year amid warnings that the government is running out of ways to fund it. The minister said the government had reduced its expenses by 10 percent adding: "We have adopted a tight monetary policy." Pakistan has also missed out on payments from the United States for its efforts to fight militancy under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF). This brought around $8.8 billion into Pakistan's coffers between 2002 and 2011, including $1.5 billion in 2009-10, but Islamabad stopped claiming the money as ties with Washington collapsed in the wake of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden last year.