A reform agenda
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.