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The Shahid Javed Burki Institute of Public Policy at NetSol launched its 11th annual report 2018

The Shahid Javed Burki Institute of Public Policy at NetSol launched its 11th annual report 2018 “The State of the Economy: Pakistan’s New Political Paradigm-An Opportunity to Make the Most of CPEC” at the Islamabad Gun and Country Club on Wednesday 16th January, 2019. The report is a sequel to BIPP's last year 2017 report: "CPEC: Review and Analysis" and is indicative of the serious research work of the Institute on CPEC in view of the vital significance this program for Pakistan's economic development. Eminent scholars, experts, development practitioners and senior representatives of federal government, academia, civil society organizations and donor agencies attended the event. The Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Mr. Asad Umar was the Chief Guest while Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Adviser to the Prime Minister for Institutional Reforms and Austerity was the main speaker. Mr. Salim Ghauri, CEO NetSol Technologies (Pvt) Ltd., presided over the event. Mr. Shahid Javed Burki, Mr. Shahid Najam, Dr. Farrukh Iqbal, Executive Director, Institute of Business Administration Karachi and Dr. Daud Ahmad Washington based International Development Consultant presented the overview of the Report and key findings and recommendations. Dr. Shahid Rashid Executive Director, CPPEC Center of Excellence and Dr. Sohail Jehangir Malik of Innovative Development Strategies Pakistan provided their comments and critique on the report. The participants agreed that CPEC offers a unique opportunity to give boost to development and economic growth in Pakistan on a sustainable basis. The has to be, however, an integral part of long term strategic plan with the accompanying measures to bring the economy on even keel. At the macro-level, the policy makers should address: the growing imbalance in fiscal and external accounts, improve domestic resource and revenue generation, overcome the key constraints to export growth—energy cost-availability, tax reforms, exchange rate policy etc. At the CPEC program level, the major focus has to be shifted away from energy and infrastructure to social sectors, trade, technology and agricultural and livestock development to alleviate poverty and incentivize exports based on agriculture, livestock and modern services. These are areas which will fit with the future needs of China’s Western provinces. In the broader context, the government should manage, and balance the complexity of external relationships in a manner to avoid total alignment with one rival to the alienation of the other. In this endeavor, the potential for linkages with Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia and India should not be ignored. Prudence in planning and implementation would be key to effective use of available funds under CPEC framework. Capacity development, due diligence, transparency, inclusiveness and depoliticization of the CPEC program management are sine qua non for the purpose. Simultaneously, a balance between the twin objectives of "wealth generation" and "poverty alleviation" will have to struck through careful selection of the projects and locations to bring about greater integration of Pakistan's backward areas and to link Pakistan with the global economic and value chain systems. It was also observed that given the size of the Chinese financed program and its dynamic nature, its content and scope is likely to undergo changes and adjustments during the course of implementation and will build on the program's successes.

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