Economic conference highlights importance of indigenous energy


The second day of the eighth Annual Conference on ‘Management of the Pakistan Economy’, hosted by the Lahore School of Economics was devoted to discussions on the channels of accelerating economic growth in Pakistan. The first session of the day highlighted Pakistan’s strategic importance and its trade relations with its neighbours, particularly India, China, UAE, and Afghanistan.
International Growth Centre Country Director Dr Ijaz Nabi opened the session proposing regional trade as a vent for economic growth. He also shed light on the issue of the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status granted by Pakistan to India, saying that the gains far outweigh losses from trade liberalisation with India.
Furthering the discussion on the prospects for Indo-Pak trade, Beacon House National University School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Dean Dr Hafeez Pasha also supported the liberalisation of trade with India terming it as an out-of-the-box injection into the stagnant Pakistan economy.
LSE Centre for Research in Economics and Business Director Dr Naved Hamid summarised the various opportunities and pitfalls for Pakistan in trading with neighbours. He said the only way that Pakistan can get sustained economic growth is to change the mindset of the people from security focus to an economic focus.
Cambridge University Senior Lecturer in Strategy Dr Kamal Munir commented on one of the most pertinent issue of energy politics, providing an assessment of the privatisation of the energy sector in Pakistan. He proposed that the bulk of energy needs should be indigenously produced and controlled, as relying overwhelmingly on imported fuel and foreign investors exposes Pakistan to massive risks.
Former Engro Corp CEO Asad Umar stated that the immediate threats to Pakistan included difficult access to capital, energy crisis and institutional decay. On the positive front, he remarked that the long term triggers for economic growth in Pakistan are a strong consumer base, wealth of natural resources, and a geo-strategic location.
Institute of Business Administration Director Dr Ishrat Hussain provided an outline of the 18th amendment to the constitution; the NFC award of 2010 and the Implementation Commission which has helped clarify the structure, roles, responsibilities between the federal and the provincial governments.