Ahsan inaugurates SDPI’s 20th conference
Federal Minister for Interior & Narcotics Control Prof Ahsan Iqbal has said that rule of law and peace are the need of hour and the major development projects like China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will guarantee peace and sustainable development to the whole South Asian region.
He was speaking at the opening plenary of the three-day 20th Sustainable Development Conference (SDC) organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in Islamabad on Tuesday. The minister said CPEC was a tool for enhancing regional connectivity and not a conspiracy, and it is in the interest of greater economy of the region. He said the government had contributed 7000 additional MW of electricity and the addition of further 3000 MW of electricity to the national grid in the next 6 months will boost the economic activity in the country. “Our government has been able to produce 10,000MW of electricity, compared to 16,000 added during the past 66 years.
“We need to become an economic nation instead of a political one,” he said. Ahsan Iqbal claimed that the current growth rate was 5.3pc and we would be able to touch 6pc in the upcoming years. In order to pursue growth trajectory, he added, we need to make investments and fix our energy crisis. “International community feels confident about our economic growth despite certain pressures, he maintained. He said it was imperative to understand that industries are becoming global and the concept of one country industry is decreasing with the inception of Phone and Samsung type conglomerates. Investments are becoming global and we need to understand that in this golden age, information cannot be restricted.
SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said South Asia was a democratic region where stagnant economic conditions of the pre-independence era have now transformed into an economic dynamism. “We are free to choose the people we want to be ruled by. We are free to live under a political system of our own choice,” he said, adding that “We have reduced poverty on a massive scale, and our products and services are competing in the world.” However, he said, our economic scenario is still not able to address structural inequalities, and our economic growth has made the difference between the rich and the poor as obvious as the one between glittering high-rises of Karachi, Mumbai, or Dhaka and the slums just underneath them.
In his keynote address, former State Bank Governor Dr Ishrat Hussian said that in the first 40 years, the economic growth of Pakistan stood at 6 to 6.5pc increase while India’s economy was at 3pc. However, from 2000-2015, there is a decline in Pakistan’s growth at 4 to 4.5%.
Bangladesh has even surpassed Pakistan, as currently it stands at 6 to 6.5 pc. Bangladesh’s current exports for 2016 were $35 billion whereas Pakistan’s exports were $21 billion in 2016. To improve the current condition, Dr Ishrat reiterated that policies need to be implemented, as efficient, strong, capable institutes make an economy functional. If the efficiency decreases, the cost and the competitive edge will also decrease, he said. He proposed that good governance and inclusive institutions can help promote economic integration in Pakistan.
Earlier, Chairperson, SDPI Board of Governors, Shafqat Kakakhel welcome the conference participants and shared with them the Institute’s 25 years of history.
Later, a documentary was screened to mark the 25th anniversary of the Institute. SDPI’s publications, including anthology titled Sustainable Development: Envisaging the Future Together; Annual Report 2017;Journal of Development Policy, Research and Practice; Policy Briefs on Sustainable Development, besides a book titled Pakistan’s Agenda for Economic Reforms by SDPI’s Deputy Executive Director Dr Vaqar Ahmed was also launched on the occasion.