Perspectives on economic revival

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Mannoo’s solutions to our many woes

 

Dr Kamal Mannoo’s newly published book ‘Economic Management in Pakistan’ is a compilation of his various papers and articles published both in Pakistan and in international journals on the topics of general economic management, industrial revival and MFN and trade liberalisation with India. This is Dr Mannoo’s second book; his first book ‘A Study of WTO’ was widely received both at home and abroad.

Dr Mannoo says that he has compiled this book to provide guideline to the new government as it works towards achieving an economic revival in Pakistan over the next five years. It would be apt to quote from the book: “If we look back to the 19th century, to the origins of the modern capitalist system, we can see bureaucracy and economists playing their legitimate role in areas like, establishing respect for private property, competition, free trade and contracts for mutually beneficial exchange, but not in successful real life implementation of these concepts.”

Dr Kamal Mannoo hails from a business family that now has its fifth generation in industry and commerce. He holds academic qualifications from the International School of Management, Yale University, Crummer School of Business & Management and Syracuse University, USA. He sits on various private and public sector corporate boards.

In this major work, Dr Mannoo puts across his perspective with the help of sound argument and data, giving a very incisive and critical look into the micro and macro-economic challenges facing Pakistan in today’s emerging global scenarios. He maintains that the solutions to the economic problems being faced by Pakistan lie more in ‘management’ than in kneejerk economic fixes. Sound economic governance requires management skills entailing professional expertise combined with pragmatism, practicality, prudence, and eye for detail, entrepreneurship and vision.

He suggests that the development funds need to be invested into communities, education, upgrading infrastructure, and switching energy grids to more viable alternatives. To make this happen, our economy will need to be linked with new monetary instruments, cooperation platforms and trading markets.

In his view, governmental transparency, equity and reciprocity are governance tools that create their own momentum of growth and development. What economy needs is confidence and a perception that stimulates investment and not one that scares it away.

He argues that energy being at the heart of the economic revival plan, perhaps it will be a good idea to transparently share short, medium and long term plans and again make use of professional management structures to implement tough short-term decisions that government on its own may otherwise find hard to exercise.

Pakistan has been one of the hardest hit in terms of persistent poverty, greater gaps between rich and poor, and resultantly a disenfranchised middle class. This is something that our new economic team will need to understand carefully, because if they just blindly follow the course of ‘market based systems’ and embark on the aggressive selling of the public sector enterprises and naively diminish the rule of governmental oversight, the result of such policies over the long-term in economic environments such as our can be disastrous.

Mr Mannoo’s viewpoint and proposed solutions certainly merit a serious consideration.

Economic Management in Pakistan (Book cover)

Economic Management in Pakistan

By Dr Kamal Mannoo

Publisher: Bookland, Urdu Bazar, Lahore.

Pages: 178; Price: Rs625/-

 

Sajid Khan Lodhy is a journalist. He corresponds at [email protected] and tweets @sajidsadeem