ISLAMABAD: A two-day Autumn School was organized by Islamabad Policy Research Institute on September 27-28, under the theme, “Contemporary Economics.” More than 50 students and practitioners were shortlisted for the course from countrywide educational institutions.
President IPRI Ambassador (retd) Dr Raza Muhammad opened the school. He urged the need for brainstorming on concepts and perceptions in economic discipline, which lies at the heart of policy-making in any state unit.
Dr Raza dilated upon the necessity that the IPRI felt to disseminate economic education and to analyze it in the right spirits in a changing world of technology and crypto-currencies.
Dr Aneel Salman, Chair of Economic Security IPRI, lectured on “Reinterpreting Economic Growth of Pakistan: Parables and Realities, whereas Khurram Ellahi Khan spoke on “Iqbal as an Economist,” Dr Sajid Amin on “Complexity in Pakistan Economy,” Khursheed Yusuf on “Leadership Economic,” and Syed Murtaza Abbas on “Fintech and Crypto Currencies.”
The discourse was supplemented with rich input from the audience, and students spelt out their state of mind and raised pertinent questions. The autumn classes pondered why obvious problems are ignored in the economy and where our policy-makers fumble.
Similarly, the concept of Black Swan and Grey Rhino was studied at length to draw parallels in the system in vogue and how exigencies shape policies and their responses.
Sustainable growth, the job market in Pakistan, the slow pace of poverty reduction, and the unfair distribution of resources were studied during the two-day sessions.
It was pointed out that Bangladesh, China, and India’s high growth leads to saving, and it is an asset for the economy and social mobility.
Likewise, Foreign Direct Investment, reforms in the agriculture and MSME sectors, as well as population growth were pondered to elicit a forward-looking approach.
It was studied that Pakistan has consumption-based growth, degenerating industrial sector, as well as a shift from agriculture to services marked by low productivity.
The cures that were earmarked and recommended were: Control population growth; invest in human resources by increasing social spending; stress on SMEs; promote the female labour force; focus on economic inclusion and shift the macroeconomic focus from stability to sustainability.
Syed Murtaza Abbas, Joint Director Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, in his lecture on Fintech and cryptocurrencies dilated upon the global financial crisis of 2008 and how it exposed serious problems and weaknesses in financial regulation and supervision.
The increasing complexity of the global regulatory framework, growing regulatory reporting requirements, and the risk of costly penalties as a result of tightening post-crisis standards have contributed to higher compliance costs in financial institutions.
Syed Murtaza said that by creating new investment opportunities for existing financial institutions, banks/lending institutions and insurance companies are increasing their base of business. The trend is investing and buying out Fintech companies as part of an investment portfolio, and some are also sponsoring Fintech incubators to create investment opportunities.
The way forward predicted was that financial regulators could allow the development of Cryptocurrencies through the “Regulatory Sandbox Approach”. This approach allows live, time-bound testing of cryptocurrencies under a regulator’s oversight in a controlled environment to assess their viability to be launched on full-scale.
The autumn school learnt that technology is the new ideology of big business, and data has become the most valuable asset.