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Pakistan, The Transformative Path Rachid Bennmessaoud

Pakistan, The Transformative Path

Rachid Bennmessaoud

Published 2013
308 pages
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 About the Book 

This synthesis note aims to provide an overall guiding framework to highlight and bring together some of the critical reform priorities identified in the following policy notes. The policy notes aim to help the incoming government achieve its ambitious economic goals. The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz manifesto strong economy, strong Pakistan-establishes the overarching goal of breaking out of the trajectory of low growth to reach a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of more than 6 percent. To get there, it calls for increasing investment, with particular attention to energy, agriculture, transport, and cities. It calls for placing the energy sector on a solid footing by reducing losses, corporatizing and privatizing energy companies, and rationalizing power tariffs. And it calls for opening markets and encouraging regional trade. It seeks to place Pakistan on a sound fiscal path with increased tax revenues, by reducing subsidies and losses in State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and limiting government borrowing. And it seeks to substantially increase investments in human capital-health, education, and social protection. These are admirable goals, and the policy notes aim to provide the government with options to meet these objectives. The most important reform to initiate is in the power sector, as progress in all other areas, including fiscal management and the private sector, depends on it. Within the power sector, action is needed on several fronts simultaneously. First, a single-point power authority should be established-and managerial autonomy, performance standards, and accountability should be introduced for power utility firms, while considering some for privatization. The second most important reform to initiate early on is revenue mobilization. The third most important action is to reinvigorate SOE reform and the business environment. The fourth priority should be the regional agenda, focused not only on India but on all regional countries. The fifth priority should be to improve human development. The sixth priority for making all these efforts more effective is to strengthen governance and accountability. Finally, civil service reform should be initiated to reduce turnover, to attract solid and specialized professionals, and to rationalize pay scales and make them transparent.