ISLAMABAD: The Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali has called for better alternatives to debt to ease Pakistan ’s fiscal problems and meeting macroeconomic challenges being faced by the country. He expressed these views while chairing the meeting of Asian Development Bank representatives, and government officials of the Planning Commission and other relevant ministries.
Sardar Aseff Ali urged the donors that grant not debt was the need of the time. He said that given the existing economic situation, the country should be looking at other alternatives to debt, adding that even soft debt needed careful review because it had to be returned unless written off.
He said that the public-private partnership and direct foreign investments needed to be encouraged, considering poverty statistics of the country and a situation where painful exercise of rationalization of public sector development programme had to be undertaken.
The ADB fact finding mission led by Jesus Felipe gave a presentation on ‘policy implications of structural transformation in Pakistan,’ with the purpose of the consultation being ‘accelerating economic transformation programme in Pakistan in the context of Pakistan’s fiscal and external problems compounded by the international economic situation.’
The delegation explained that ADB’s role was to contribute to the development of a program that led to upgrading and diversification i.e., structural transformation of economic base in partnership with the country’s public and private sector.
It focused on the need of structural transformation, particularly in the industrial and exports sector. He emphasized that Pakistan should pay attention to increasing the level of sophistication of exports particularly in textiles.
Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali in his concluding remarks thanked the ADB mission and underscored the need for increased value addition in view of insignificant value addition in exports. One participant suggested that the fastest way to value addition was to bring technology through joint venture as it would have low gestation period but significant impact. Another stressed on the need for ‘indigenous industrialization.’ Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister of State for Economic Affairs also attended the meeting.