Govt, PBC on same page for economic revival | Pakistan Today

Govt, PBC on same page for economic revival

The government and the Pakistan Business Council (PBC) are on the same page over the issue of economic revival through a comprehensive future roadmap featuring indigenous growth, energy security, boosting competitive exports, modernisation of infrastructure, social capital development and continuation of polices.
Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal along with economists of the Planning Commission held a session with the PBC representatives on Tuesday to take feedback from the top business forum on the next long-term and medium-term policies the government is devising to put the country on growth path.
Addressing the PBC representatives, the federal minister said that the country was passing through serious problems. He, however, expressed the hope that right decisions of today would lead to right results tomorrow.
He termed the political stability and continuation of policies as a basis for development adding that the nations that ensured political stability have progressed and prospered.
He lamented that nothing was done during the past twelve years to formulate sustainable policies and that was why the country was going through serious challenges nowadays.
He said that the government would finalise its Long Term Plan, Vision 2025 and Medium-Term Plan 2013-18 with the consultation of stakeholders and best practices of other nations.
He said that the government was working on developing a model to chalk out a roadmap to secure future and warned that if “we failed to devise policies, the country would be in serious trouble 10 years down, particularly in water sector”.
He said that first thrust of the government was energy security through an integrated energy policy and secondly it intends to move away from exogenous growth to indigenous growth adding so far the growth has been dependent on International Monetary Fund, aids and remittances only.
The growth on externalities has not been sustainable, he said adding that the government wants sustainable growth through promotion of taxes from 9 percent to 15 percent besides focusing on savings.
He said that modernisation of infrastructure was another feature of the government plan as the current system was outdated, citing an example of power distribution system which has lost capability to pass on energy to the end consumers. Iqbal said that there was also need for exploring export markets, adding that value to county’s products to boost exports.
Building of social capital is another area where government is looking, he said adding so far much focus has been given on infrastructure development so there is need to develop human resources through inculcating teachings of values and ethics.
He said that private sector being the engine of economic growth can also play their vital role in the socio economic prosperity of the country.
He assured the private sector that government would extend all necessary help as facilitator and policy maker in order to further their businesses for sustainable economic growth in the country.
He said clerics and religious scholars could play an important role in educating the people about the country’s challenges including meeting the Millennium Development Goals, fighting poverty, and issues like malnutrition.
On the occasion, the representatives of the PBC assured the minister of their support to government’s roadmap for future development.
They were of the view that the country had huge resources, adding, “However, what we need is implementation of policies.” They informed the minister that PBC has conducted various studies which could be fruitful for developing the future roadmap.
They stressed the need for documenting economy and enhancing tax to GDP ratio to steer the country out of crisis and decrease its dependence on external resources. They also highlighted the importance of focusing on development of rural economy, remittance sector and demographic dividend in terms of youth bunch the country has.
They said that large population youth was a challenge as well as an opportunity for the country, so there is need for creating more jobs for them.
Both, the planning commission and PBC agreed to share their studies to incorporate these in the upcoming long-term policy for the good future of the country. Among others, the PCB representatives included Chairman PBC, Sikandar Mustafa Khan, Chief Executive Officer, Kamran Y Mirza, Abdul Razaq Dawood and other members of the forum were present.

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