A re­form agenda

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

The na­tional econ­omy is bur­dened with ex­ter­nal debt amount­ing to US $ 95 bil­lion. The cur­rent ac­count deficit has widened to US $ 18 bil­lion ris­ing from $ 12.6 bil­lion from last fis­cal year. Ex­ter­nal debt ser­vic­ing has be­come a se­ri­ous prob­lem. A short term way out other than the in­ter­na­tional donors is the over­seas Pak­ista­nis po­ten­tial which can be tapped with a pru­dent ap­proach.Like­wise the cir­cu­lar debt, in do­mes­tic econ­omy has reached around 1-2 tril­lion ru­pees. All this calls for fast track out of box so­lu­tions for the na­tional econ­omy. A non-bu­reau­cratic task force needs to be set up com­pris­ing of in­de­pen­dent ex­perts to meet the eco­nomic chal­lenges.

An im­me­di­ate so­lu­tion is to tap Over­seas Pak­ista­nis' co­op­er­a­tion ef­fec­tively. Spe­cial In­vest­ment bonds may be is­sued for Over­seas Pak­ista­nis with tar­gets of sale to be given to Pak­istan Em­bassies. These should be launched im­me­di­ately & the sale may be com­pleted within two months.An­other short term re­deem­ing mea­sure is to cut un­nec­es­sary im­ports to re­lieve the ris­ing trade deficit.It is highly im­per­a­tive to put the na­tional econ­omy on a high eco­nomic growth path in real terms based on ac­tual and ad­vanced pro­duc­tiv­ity tra­jec­tory in each sec­tor of the na­tional econ­omy. The fol­low­ing pa­ram­e­ters will have to be ad­dressed through mas­sive re­forms, cou­pled with short term and long term ac­tion plans free of "babu cul­ture" and with a strong po­lit­i­cal will at the top to im­ple­ment them. These fac­tors alone can gen­er­ate real wealth for the na­tional econ­omy to pay off the cur­rent pub­lic debt li­a­bil­i­ties in a few years and make Pak­istan eco­nom­i­cally self-re­liant in the very near fu­ture.

Bu­reau­cracy is the core area that eats away the ef­fects of all good poli­cies and plans. Bangladesh, on in­de­pen­dence, dras­ti­cally changed the old com­plex pro­ce­dures breed­ing red-tapism and cor­rup­tion. Ser­vices re­forms based on re­sults achieve­ments and mar­ket ori­en­ta­tion, are needed to meet the chal­lenges of pub­lic wel­fare, ac­count­abil­ity and free­dom from cor­rup­tion. About forty per­cent of the bud­get is wasted through red-tapism, de­layed and costs es­ca­lated projects and cor­rup­tion. This needs dras­tic re­forms.

Agri­cul­tural and in­dus­trial pro­duc­tiv­ity growth: This aided with high value ad­di­tion is the most vi­tal need to add real na­tional wealth. Fast track GDP growth strate­gies and im­ple­men­ta­tion plans are sine qua non to high growth tar­gets achieve­ments. In this con­nec­tion, the roles of agri­cul­tural and in­dus­trial pro­duc­tiv­ity in­dices are very vi­tal. Presently these pa­ram­e­ters are very low in our na­tional econ­omy. This re­quires nec­es­sary re­forms pack­age and prag­matic poli­cies to en­hance pro­duc­tiv­ity lev­els in agri­cul­ture and in­dus­try. The present Na­tional Pro­duc­tiv­ity Or­gan­i­sa­tion needs to be over­hauled, strength­ened and re­or­gan­ised pro­fes­sion­ally. Cost of pro­duc­tion needs to be cut through mod­ern tech­nolo­gies. In­no­va­tion and tech­nol­ogy up-gra­da­tion are needed, based on in­ter­na­tional mod­els. Re­search and De­vel­op­ment plays a mas­sive role in boost­ing in­dus­trial and agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tiv­ity.

At the same time ag­gres­sive in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion poli­cies are needed to be launched in the SME sec­tors and large in­dus­tries fo­cus­ing on ex­ports ori­en­ta­tion. This alone would help achieve high growth tar­gets. It would be ad­vis­able to set up pub­lic sec­tor com­pa­nies to en­sure the fast track im­ple­men­ta­tion of in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion pro­grams based on sim­pli­fied pro­ce­dures and up­dated method­olo­gies. Cor­rup­tion eats away a size­able chunk of our na­tional re­sources and ad­versely af­fects pub­lic wel­fare poli­cies through red-tapism. It can be checked through re­forms and by us­ing in­tel­li­gence agen­cies as well. How­ever hon­est and good po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship, ef­fi­cient ac­count­abil­ity frame­work and an ef­fec­tive par­lia­men­tary sys­tem alone can min­imise cor­rup­tion.

Agri­cul­ture is the main­stay of our econ­omy. On the ba­sis of con­sul­ta­tion with all stake hold­ers and agri­cul­tural ex­perts, com­pre­hen­sive agri­cul­ture Re­forms Poli­cies need to be in­tro­duced with the fol­low­ing ob­jec­tives; to achieve higher per acre yields, to im­prove qual­ity of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, to boost ex­ports, to in­tro­duce new crops, farmer em­pow­er­ment and train­ing, and to strengthen the Agri­cul­ture Ex­ten­sion Pro­grams so that they reach the farm­ers quickly.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.