Published Date: May 6, 2019
Pakistan needs rapid pro-poor growth for economic development, says Dr. Sohail
Inequitable inherent distribution of resources and power, rapidly growing population – majority with little or no education, skills or access to productive resources, widespread poverty and malnutrition, debt management crisis are a few causes of growing risks to socio-economic development in the country, says Dr Sohail Jehangir Malik, a leading economist and policy analyst.
Delivering a special lecture on “The Current State of the Economy: Pakistan’s desperate need for rapid pro-poor growth” at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Dr Sohail said we have to plan to address rampant energy crisis, looming water crisis and natural and manmade disasters such as floods, earthquake and drought, etc. If we will not give top priority to these areas, we may not expect poverty reduction and pro-poor growth which are vital for economic development in the country.
He said that we need to increase development budget to GDP instead of cutting it down that impacts the communities. To provide resources to development and implementation of pro-poor growth strategy, there is a need to improve revenue mobilization by controlling corruption and inefficiencies in the tax system as revenue shortfall occur due to narrow tax base amid exemptions, preferential treatment of certain sectors at the cost of other sectors which are heavily taxed. He has called for documenting economy aligning the system around Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs). He suggested that we have to learn lesson from budget history in Pakistan and how horrifically the public debt has been increased so far.
Dr Sohail called for increase in growth rate of agriculture and related sectors such as cotton ginning, livestock, fishing and various crops saying that it will ensure food security and reduce incidence of poverty and disparities in rural income size. He said that we should realize the fact that the society that does not care for its poor is exploitative, in-cohesive, dysfunctional and unjust and does not cater to the human dignity and decency. By including the poor in growth paradigm could be the only way to ensure efficiency, equity and employment generation in the system, he added.
He said almost 62.4% formers are living in a poor situation, and 66% living in less than 3 acres area, 70% farms less than 5 hectares and 50% farms 20 hectares and above. To achieve the objective of making Pakistan a country where reducing poverty stands as a strong pillar of socio-economic development, the system needs to provide self-respect, social awareness and gainful livelihoods to the people especially the youth given the bulge in the demographic pyramid by development their skills and know how. He also suggested to start Young Entrepreneurs Programmes to generates employment opportunities for youth.
Dr Abid Suleri, Executive Director SDPI moderated the event.