Shaikh highlights three challenges to Pakistan's economy

Published: December 8, 2019
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 PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

 PHOTO: AFP The SBP has anticipated Pakistan will achieve economic growth of 3.5% in the current fiscal year. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: Pakistan faces three major challenges and cannot achieve sustainable economic growth without addressing them, said Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.

“Pakistan is second to none…having (almost) all the resources required to grow and achieve economic growth…, but remains a poor country,” he said while speaking at the 2019 annual convocation of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) on Saturday. He said that developing the underdeveloped people, connecting the country to the world particularly for trade and investment and confining government’s role to policymaking and letting people run businesses are the three major challenges.

“You cannot have a developed country with underdeveloped people. Only those countries have prospered who cared and developed their people,” he detailed.

To recall, around 39% population, which amounts to around 60-70 million people, is living below the poverty line in Pakistan.

Shaikh stressed that the government had to reach out to the rest of the world to develop the country because no country was able to prosper alone. He reasoned that the country had to sell its products to other countries to attract investment and boost business.

“In the last 10 years, our exports have not even grown by 1%,” he lamented.

The third big challenge in the way of developing the country was to confine the role of the government to policymaking only and letting people do business, he said. Addressing the graduating students, he said these were the three main challenges that they would encounter during their careers.

“The world has taught us three lessons. If we follow them, we can also be on the path of economic prosperity just like many, many others were,” he said. “And yet we may face some failures and this is where the role of institutions commences.”

He urged upon the graduating students to address the challenges “to make this country grow.”

The State Bank of Pakistan has anticipated Pakistan will achieve economic growth of 3.5% in the current fiscal year that is close to the nine-year low of 3.3% achieved in the last fiscal year ended June 30, 2019.

Speaking on the occasion, IBA Karachi Executive Director Dr Farrukh Iqbal congratulated the graduating students and their families and announced that 80% of the institute’s current graduating batch had attained employment of its choice within three months of graduation.

He reiterated that the first cohort of BS Economics and MS Journalism was graduating and would enter the job market. Furthermore, he highlighted that IBA was the first institute to offer a specialised degree in journalism.

IBA Karachi conferred degrees to 926 graduates. The graduating batch included 673 undergraduate students from six programs, 252 postgraduate students from seven programs, and one PhD scholar. 

Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2019.

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