Politicians challenged to secure Pakistan’s global economic future
Mark Lowcock said:“Pakistan has everything it takes to be a successful, thriving, prosperous Islamic democracy.’
Pakistan has potential to become a global economic player. It’s a powerful vision which can be realised if there is a focus on economic growth and implementing the vital reforms needed to stimulate and underpin growth a representative for the UK Government signalled yesterday.
Speaking at the Karachi School of Business and Leadership Mark Lowcock, the UK government’s most senior aid official, told business leaders and students that countries succeeding in today’s global race are those reforming the fastest to generate growth and reduce poverty.
Mark Lowcock said:
“Pakistan has everything it takes to be a successful, thriving, prosperous Islamic democracy.”
“If you develop a clear and shared vision, sustain a long term commitment to travelling the long road of reform, and refuse to be deterred by the problems that will inevitably arise, then you can transform your country within a generation.”
Citing examples from across Asia and Africa, Mark Lowcock pressed that Pakistan’s stake in the global economy, and future investment potential, could be transformed. It has enormous potential for trade. Population dynamics mean that over the coming decades it could reap a demographic dividend, if the economy develops in a way that creates jobs for all young people.
Mr Lowcock stressed elections as an important watershed in embedding an inclusive political system, emphasised the importance of greater transparency in public operations, and highlighted the need to broaden the national dialogue on economic reform.
Mark Lowcock said:
“Pakistan cannot sustain high rates of economic growth without a sufficient, reliable supply of energy…. The sector needs to be put on a more commercial footing, including a regulatory and tariff structure that is attractive to investors.”
“A tax system that collects less than 10% of GDP is unsustainable for any modern country. Without agreement and tangible progress on broader and fairer taxation, Pakistan will be unable to invest in a more prosperous future.”
“Pakistan needs to invest in its best asset, which is your own people, especially in health and education to build human capital. It is also critical to promote women’s participation in the economy. This is an issue of fairness and good governance. But it is also crucially an economic issue.”
“Pakistan must take steps to harness private sector dynamism in boosting investment and growth. Inefficient public sector enterprises play too large a role in the economy. They should be reformed or privatized. Bureaucratic barriers to private business need to be reduced and property rights better protected.”
“There are enormous benefits to Pakistan from resuming your historical status as the regional hub between central Asia and south Asia with strong links to the Middle East. This involves reforming the trade regime to make it more open to the world and providing the infrastructure necessary for an important trading hub.”
Pakistan could potentially become the UK’s largest development programme globally. DFID has made a commitment to expand its support here, potentially reaching 200 billion rupees over 4 years.
“That is recognition of the importance we attach to our shared ties and heritage. And because we firmly believe in the ability of Pakistani girls and boys, women and men to improve their own lives. We are confident you can succeed, and that our money can be spent well here.”
Over the coming years UK aid to Pakistan will focus heavily on supporting economic growth enabling millions of people to access financial services, such as micro-finance loans, and providing practical job training to tens of thousands of people living in poverty. In addition UK aid will help support 4 million children in school.
Also speaking at the event, Chairman of the Karachi School for Business and Leadership Hussain Dawood said,
“Pakistan is faced with numerous internal and external challenges and one of the ways these can be addressed is by nurturing and grooming its human talent. The best way to do so is by establishing centres of excellence for applied education and training. KSBL is one such example, being established in collaboration with the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, offering world-class education in leadership and business with a focus on ethics and social responsibility”