International Conference spells out the agenda for sustainable and inclusive growth in Pakistan
A two-day conference hosted by the Planning Commission and UNDP discusses how best to ensure sustained growth in Pakistan. The Conference brings together around 500 delegates including parliamentarians, international experts, federal and provincial policy makers, economists, development sector leaders, business community and officials from UN agencies from across Pakistan.
The conference was inaugurated by Dr. Nadeem ul Haque, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission and Assistant Secretary General of the UN, Ajay Chhiber. Dr. Nadeem ul Haque Deputy Chairman Planning Commission of Pakistan in his opening remarks said that we have a young and growing population. Around 68% of Pakistan’s population is regarded as youth (under 30 years). Many of them are now coming into the labor force, increasing the size of the workforce by over 3 per cent annually. We estimate that to employ this youth we require the economy to grow at more than 7% consistently for 20 years. For this we need a major rethink.The current strategy of growth through a series of projects without focusing on institutions and policies for growth is not working since is it is not delivering the required sustained growth. And that is why we must rethink.
“Framework for Economic Growth, Pakistan is a new approach to accelerating economic growth and sustaining it. It has been developed with world renowned experts and all the stakeholders following extensive research and consultation. Our consultations clearly identified the need to develop a coherent approach to growth that goes well beyond projects and targets public service delivery, productivity, competitive markets, innovation and entrepreneurship. The strategy is based on sustained reform that builds efficient and knowledgeable governance structures, and markets in desirable, attractive and well-connected locations. It recognises the severe resource constraint that the country faces and therefore focuses on ‘productivity’— improving the efficiency with which assets are used. Global indicators such as ‘competitiveness’ and ‘cost of doing business’ also highlight factors such as ‘management’, ‘innovation’, ‘quality of regulation and governance’ and ‘research and development’, as the more immediate constraints to growth. The thrust of this strategy, therefore, is to focus on the ‘software’ of economic growth (issues of economic governance, institutions, incentives, human resources, etc.) so as to provide an environment in which the ‘hardware’ of growth (physical infrastructure) could be expanded and made more productive at every level” said Dr. Nadeem ul Haque.
In his introductory remarks Ajay Chhibber, Assistant Secretary General of the UN and Assistant Administrator UNDP, said that Pakistan at present faces numerous development and economic challenges “Pakistan needs bold new approaches to seek sustainable and inclusive development and discussions held in this conference will affect Pakistan’s future profoundly and positively ”, he said.
International and national resource persons include Sulaiman B. Mahbob, Chairman, Malaysian Industrial Development Authority, Norma Binte Mansor Secretary General of the National Economic Advisory Council Malaysia, Mohammed Ali Chairman Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Shahid Kardar Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Heru Prasetyo Deputy Chairman of the President’s Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight Indonesia, Vinaya Swaroop Sector Manager of Economic Policy in South Asia World Bank, Dr. Andrew Rathmell Coffey International Development, Mahbub Hossain Executive Director, Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee and many others related to the economic and social development sectors from across Pakistan.
The conference deliberations focused on civil service and governance reforms, the role of vibrant markets and results-orientation in the public sector. Leading experts also discussed the need for urban development and reform as a pre requisite to robust growth while maximizing human capital, productivity and innovation. The interactive sessions also reiterate the need for youth engagement as the drivers for growth.
At the conclusion of the Conference, the Planning Commission and UNDP will be exchanging a letter of intent proposing the establishment of the Centre for Growth and Development. The revamped centre will contribute towards building institutional capacity to support the implementation of the new Economic Growth Framework. It will conduct research, advocacy and policy advice, promote global learning and solution exchange.
For further information and media assistance, please contact, Fatimah Inayet, Communications Analyst, UNDP Pakistan