ISLAMABAD: Crisis of governance, rent seeking culture and corruption have been increasing and for revival of economic growth it is essential to restore confidence in the economy, said former finance minister Shahid Javed Burki.
He was speaking at a seminar titled “Pakistan, moving the economy forward”, organised by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) here on Thursday.
Burki said in the past Pakistan always took short term measures to respond to the crisis that hit the economy, adding the country always depended on external assistance instead of devising a long-term strategy.
He suggested that for building confidence in economy the next government should have some strategic framework in place for achieving sustainable economic growth.
“Currently, the economy is facing a trust deficit as no one is ready to invest in the country, so the first and foremost is confidence building,” the economist said.
He called for creating a system of accountability, “where we can give a message to the people that those sitting on decision-making positions will function in a way that their decisions will be based on merit.”
He said the other important step for achieving sustainable economic growth could be that the country gives more space to the private sector to work.
Establishment of a regulatory system was also required to provide protection to citizens instead of rent-seeking.
Pakistan, he suggested, should focus on regional integration and increase trade with neighbouring countries like India and China which could add up to 2-4% to the growth rate, whereas Pakistan’s destination for exports was the US, which needed a lot of expenditure on transit.
Talking about long-term initiatives, he said the country should adopt different types of strategic visions for a new development paradigm. The world economy and production system has changed and Pakistan should adopt and create an environment to facilitate the new development paradigm.
He also suggested some medium term steps such as focus on agricultural productivity which is very low despite having large aggregate area. “If we train human resource and provide them market it will prove to be an asset,” he said.
He added economic growth should be tripled compared to the population growth to make a real difference but the economic growth was lower, which is leading to an increase in informal economy.
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