Category Archives: Economy

State of research in Pakistan…

Nadeem ul Haque, a senior, respected economist has some insightful remarks to make about the state of policy research institutions in Pakistan

For 5 years the position of the Chief Economist of the Planning Commission has been vacant. The PIDE Director/Vice Chancellor has served in an “acting” capacity! Why “acting?” And how do you keep someone in an “acting” position for years? Is that good governance?

Every few months the government runs expensive ads (the most recent is produced below). They seem to be content with placing the ad! There is no serious effort then made to fill the position.

This is not the only position this has happened with. The SECP position too was left vacant for many months on a number of occasions.

The government seems to find it very hard to find professional economists. Why is this so? I would welcome your views on this subject!

I would like to point out that very few senior positions are filled by the mere placement of an ad! Often this is a matter for a search committee and serious effort by several competent people to seek an ideal candidate and persuade him or her to accept the proposed position. Since the government is unwilling to form such a search committee and seek out serious people, perhaps it should stop wasting tax-payer’s money on such ads! (Even when they form a search committee they will pick on the most well known establishment figures who in turn will find a very well known non-professional or a house-broken professional who will not rock the boat.) No wonder the government seems to have no fresh thinking.

Read the full post here

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Filed under Development, Economy, Research

The Global Food Crisis is not over. Our obligations go beyond fixing the financial system,” says UN Special Rapporteur

26 June 2009

(GENEVA – NEW YORK) The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Mr. Olivier De Schutter, calls on decision-makers gathering in New York for the UN Conference on World Financial and Economic Crisis not to forget the global food prices crisis. This crisis is continuing in many countries. It is connected not only with the financial and economic crises, but also with the climatic/environmental crisis. Continue reading

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Filed under Economy, Food Security, Human Rights

Bhasha Dam project: another perspective – Will a Large Dam Increase Access to Electricity in Pakistan?

Bhasha Dam project: another perspective
Will a Large Dam Increase Access to Electricity in Pakistan?
Fast Track Power Generation

This article by Ann-Kathrin Schneider has first appeared on the website of the Heinrich Boell Foundation in September 2008.

Men of all ages, most of them wearing dashing black moustaches and white cotton caps that contrast with their pitch dark eyes and brown skin, pass each other on the narrow lanes of this market, just north of the Pakistani capital Islamabad. Some appear to have no reason to be here, leaning leisurely against graffiti-soaked house walls, waiting for something to catch their interest. Others are hard at work, exposing sweaty muscular torsos as they unload three, four or five wooden boxes filled with yellow mangoes from a truck onto their shoulders. The weight of the boxes challenges their balance – but not a mango is spilled.

Life in this market hasn’t changed for a long time. Trucks bring wheat, spinach, apples, cucumbers, mangoes, herbs and pumpkins from the villages. The produce changes hands quickly; fathers, shopkeepers and restaurant owners carry the food on bicycles, motorbikes and minibuses out of the market and into the city. More food arrives. Continue reading

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Filed under Climate Change, Economy, Energy, Pakistan

Financial Liberalization and Crisis in the Age of Globalization

by Muzaffer Vatansever & Mustafa Kutlay (courtesy Turkish Weekly opinion)

“Periods of high international capital mobility have repeatedly produced international banking crises, not only famously as they did in the 1990s, but historically.” Reinhart and Rogoff[1]

 Globalization has turned out to be one of the most controversial topics of our time. It is almost impossible to conclude a debate without touching upon at least one aspect of globalization. Moreover, it is not an easy job to make a comprehensive and adequate definition of it that leads to overselling of this term. Notwithstanding the definitional ambiguity, there is more or less consensus on what economic globalization is: It briefly refers to the abolishment of customs and trade barriers, the surge in technological developments and knowledge, the widespread liberalization and integration of financial markets, and the movements in labour markets (Figure-1)

 Arguably, the most dynamic and unstable part of economic globalization is the financial side of the story. The recent financial crises have clearly demonstrated this fact, and proved that the deterioration in the financial system has the potential to plunge the overall economy into a crisis, per se. For instance, the perversion of the financial globalization had caused huge economic meltdown in Mexico and South Korea even these countries have solid macroeconomic fundamentals at the very beginning of the crises. For example, before the crisis in Mexico, the inflation fell from 130% in 1987 to 7% by 1994; economy was growing at an annual rate of 4.4%; while the government budget was -0.7%. The only problem was the current account deficit with 7.2% of GDP[2]. The uncontrolled and very fast liberalization of the Mexican financial system has paved the way to full-fledged financial crisis. These and the similar other crises brought up one important point into the agenda of world economy: What are the risks associated with capital market liberalization, and in which ways:  Continue reading

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Filed under Capital markets, Economy, finance, IFIs

Pakistan: Stress on poverty reduction

By Ali Cheema

THE emphasis on eliminating poverty through the pursuit of social justice in the prime minister’s hundred-day programme is a welcome change from President Musharraf’s policy, which favoured the trickle-down recipe of poverty alleviation.

The previous regime’s erstwhile economic gurus went about the business of calculating the percentage decline in mean poverty in relation to the increased rate of growth, which became its battle cry. The much-advertised official verdict was that poverty in Pakistan had declined by over 10 per cent in the last four years.

The merits and demerits of the official calculations notwithstanding (the veracity of the official calculations is subject to intense debate), by becoming obsessed with average reductions the previous regime’s policy approach to poverty failed to develop an appreciation of the deep structural constraints impacting poverty in Pakistan.

These structural constraints impact poverty in a number of ways. Their primary impact is the tremendous variation in household poverty that is caused at the district and sub-provincial level. These constraints have resulted in the creation of high-poverty districts that are stuck in ‘poverty traps’, where endemic poverty is persistent over the long run. The socio-economic channels through which growth ‘trickle down’ is said to happen remain extremely fragile in these districts. That is, growth alone has not and will not deliver in these districts. Continue reading

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Filed under Economy, Income distribution, Inequality, Pakistan, Poverty, Surveys

World Bank’s advice to Pakistan

World Bank’s advice
 
While the new government is learning to walk, the World Bank (WB) has warned it to watch its steps on its way to economic stability. The WB has advised the new government of Pakistan to carry out economic reforms and make quick adjustments to steer clear of an economic crisis. The reminder to keep in view the economic aspect while making policies came from Praful Patel, WB vice president, at the end of his three-day visit to Pakistan. Patel’s word of caution reflects his concern that Pakistan is likely to miss targets of fiscal deficit, current account deficit, inflation, and foreign exchange reserves. Patel has observed that there is no crisis at the moment but he believes that the economic indicators of Pakistan are not a good omen for the future economic picture of the country. According to Patel, the economic growth Pakistan had seen over the past few years, in addition to foreign direct investment and remittances, could be maintained only if the government had adjusted to the global prices of oil and wheat. Patel’s saying that since re-adjustments in the economy would be painful “there must be an appropriate safety net for the poor” should be heeded to. This is not the first that IFIs have painted a bleak picture of Pakistan’s economy in terms of achieving its economic goals. According to the WB’s and Asian Development Bank’s (ADB’s) projections, Pakistan’s economy will not be able to meet its target of 7.2 percent GDP growth rate in the year 2008. Continue reading

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Filed under Economy, IFIs, Pakistan