The Express Tribune
Published Date: May 22, 2013
Experts call for macroeconomic stabilisation, economic growth
at a seminar discussed the priority agenda of the incoming government ahead of
the budget on Tuesday. They focused on macroeconomic stabilisation, development
and economic growth. Titled “Agenda for Stabilisation and Economic Growth” the
seminar was organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).
University of Science and Technology Dean Dr Ashfaque H Khan denounced the
conventional method of managing fiscal crisis such as reduction in budget
deficit and development programmes, saying it had brought suffering to the
he urged the new government to devise “forward looking macroeconomic policies”
which according to him, will help strike a balance between “stabilisation” and
developmental priorities”. About economic reform agenda, he said that there is
greater need for resource mobilisation through reforming tax system and
bringing efficacy in government expenditure particularly by restructuring or
privitisation of public sector enterprises which are burdening the public
exchequer. He also proposed proper fiscal decentralisation, energy sector
reform, reforms in central bank, improving investment climate, promoting
inclusive growth and removing ‘manufacturing defects’ of the new National
Finance Commission (NFC) Award.
Deputy Executive Director Dr Vaqar Ahmed suggested the new government to
increase efficiency of existing energy generation and transmission system and
improve effectiveness of public sector development programme in short term.
in the longer term an enabling environment must be provided to private sector
to take a lead in the development process,” he added.
this, he suggested privatisation or increased role of private sector in public
sector enterprises, strengthening institutions that promote competition in
markets, bringing down the tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and long
term investment in improving connectivity across the country.
expert Safiya Aftab deliberated on social sector challenges in upcoming budget.
She said that the federal government has put the bulk of resources available
for social protection into Benazir Income Support Programme and this trend
would most probably continue as the programme is likely to continue with the
change of name.
last year’s development expenditures after the 18th amendment, she said that
education expenditure has not shown significant increase in real terms in
Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). She also cited that development
expenditure falls in Punjab and Balochistan but is consistently rising in K-P
mainly due to building of infrastructure damaged in war against extremism such
as schools, hospitals and roads.
she said that drastically raising the expenditure on health and education may
not be the answer but provinces now need to start medium term planning
exercises for use of additional funds disbursed through new NFC. In most cases,
a reappraisal of priorities and improving the basic services is the need of
hour, she added.