Lahore School Fourth Annual Conference on Management of the Pakistan Economy - April 24, 2008
April 24, 2008
Dr. Shahid Amjad emphasized on the need to alleviate poverty through expenditure on Education, Health and Housing. He was of the view that the role of private sector in the provision of education should be encouraged through direct income supplements such as a transferable voucher schemes. He blamed the inadequacy of health services provision as the biggest cause of families falling prey to poverty, to be reformed through, compulsory coverage of hospitalization expenditures. On the housing front,he further proposed that public housing schemes should be reintroduced and that payments made towards housing rent should be directed towards housing loans. To finance these expenditures, Dr. Amjad suggested that the tax base be widened to include the energy sector, real estate and the stock market. Addressing macro-economic imbalances, he said that the Current Account Deficit should be minimized through exchange rate adjustments and revisiting the idea of increasing tariff rates.
In the following keynote speech, Dr. Shahid Javed Burki highlighted the importance of learning from history to understand the lack of adequate development of institutions in Pakistan. He also stressed on the need to specifically develop an industrial and trade policy instead of generally focusing on the role of the public and private sectors
The first session based on the ‘Unfinished Reform Agenda’ commenced with the presentation of a paper) titled ‘Public Policy Fundamentals Focusing on the Private Sector for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth.’ by Dr. Ijaz Nabi (Sector Manager, Economic Policy South Asia Region World Bank). The paper argued that to reduce regional and interpersonal disparities, government programs should be cost-effective, transparent, monitored and effectively evaluated to improve tax compliance on the part of the citizens. The second presentation by Dr. Hafeez Sheikh, Former Minister of Privatization and Finance Minister of Sindh, GoP discussed tax reform, revenue mobilization and privatization in Pakistan in the current and historical context .
In the second session on ‘Inclusive Growth and Poverty’, Dr. Rahid Amjad, Vice Chancellor, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics , presented a paper on whether labor market structures help explain poverty in rural Punjab. The paper brought forth four factors to explain inequalities in rural Punjab such as integration with urban settings, flow of remittances due to overseas migration etc. The paper helped in understanding how differentials in poverty occur due to employment structure across agro-climatic zones in the Punjab.
The Third session ; essentially a panel discussion on regional Inequalities delineated several ways in which regional inequalities can be addressed while suggesting solutions as well. The panelists present in this discussion were Shahid Kardar, Dr. Ali Cheema and Dr. Sajjad Akhtar prominently recognized in their contribution to policy making and academia.
Large number of policy makers, academicians and students eager to indulge in policy debates regarding the role that the new government should be playing attended the Confrence. The highlight of the second day would be a session on ‘Rethinking Development Strategy’ and discussions on rising inflation and its causes.
posted by S A J Shirazi @ 4/24/2008 05:23:00 PM,
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