Comprehensive strategy vital to economic revival

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Comprehensive strategy vital to economic revival

LAHORE - SALMAN ABDUHU - The country’s top economists, while suggesting the ways to revive economy, have recommended the new government to evolve a comprehensive economic strategy, highlighting short, medium and long-term plans for the country.

Former State Bank of Pakistan governor and Director IBA Karachi Dr Ishrat Hussain urged the government to bridge the gap between policy-making and research. He also called for a balance between civil servants who should look at pure technical feasibility of proposals, and politicians, who should assess their political feasibility. He also recommended minimal role of federal government and a separation between regulatory bodies and policy-making, as well as supporting the operational autonomy of companies’ Board of Directors.

He was chairing the launch of a book edited by Dr Rashid Amjad and Shahid Javed Burki “Pakistan: Moving the Economy Forward” on Thursday at the Lahore School of Economics. He appreciated the editors of the book for publishing it in a short period of time and for its timeliness and the potential assistance it could provide to the new government in Islamabad.  Introducing the book, Dr Amjad, who is Director of Graduate Institute of Development Studies at LSE, said that the central question which the book addressed was how to reverse the current prolonged period of low growth and high inflation in the country –stagflation - over the past five years, and to suggest and implement measures that would decisively move the economy onto a higher, more sustainable growth path.

The chief guest Dr Hafiz Pasha, former Minister of Finance and Dean of the School of Social Sciences at Beaconhouse National University, said that the book was perhaps the best book to have come out on the subject in some time and requested the editors to find an opportunity to present it to the incoming economic managers, adding that the book should be prescribed for all postgraduate courses on Pakistan’s economy.

Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha lamented the low tax to GDP ratio in Pakistan and after a comparative analysis of Pakistan with thirteen foreign economies, came to the conclusion that direct taxes required urgent attention, as well as redressal of the exemptions and concessions culture in the country and the problem of tax evasion. Dr Naved Hamid highlighted the lessons from the past and the way forward in terms of identifying the drivers of exports in manufacturing, agriculture and services, as well as the opportunities and pitfalls for Pakistan’s trade with its neighbors China, UAE, India and Afghanistan.

Dr Teresa Thompson Chaudhry reconceptualised the definition of poverty to incorporate newer analyses, and said that the number of non-poor have increased in Pakistan in the period 2004-2010.

Summing up the discussion, former Chief Economist Planning Commission Dr Pervez Tahir said that the most important message of the book was the rehabilitation of investment as a key driver of growth. He praised the chapter on remittances market co-authored by Dr Amjad as well-researched and contributing important insights into the way black money was being whitened in the country.

Courtesy:   Nation

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