The Economic ChallengesIPSweb
The third lecture of the series of “Agenda for the New Government” titled The Economic Challenges was delivered by Shahid Kardar, former Finance Minister of Punjab, on June 14, 2008.
Speakers: Shahid Kardar, former Finance Minister of PunjabChair: Dr. Syed Nawab Haider Naqvi, HEC distinguished Professor of Economics
Mr. Kardar stated that it would be very hard for the government to reduce the subsidies quickly as has been announced in the budget. “A paradigm shift is needed to address the economic
challenges the country is facing. But the measures announced in the Budget 2007-08 do not seem to take the country in this desired direction,” he observed.
He was of the view that current account deficit was becoming unsustainable due to unchecked expenditure coupled with burgeoning trade gap, and Pakistan lacked the capacity and means to finance it due to “macro-economic imbalances”.
The noted economist opined that measures such as 'Benazir Card' announced in the budget were bound to be misused. Many of the eligible people in FATA and Balochistan did not have the NICs and would not be able to avail the benefit [of the card], he maintained. “The situation of the masses will not improve unless army and elite are willing to sacrifice,” he stated.
Prof. Dr. Syed Nawab Haider Naqvi, in his remarks as chairperson, said that our economic problems remained the same as they were in 1950s while certain countries that became independent after us have gone much ahead of us.
“We have grown but for shorter periods. The linkage between growth and poverty is important,” he concluded.