Prices Matter! Inflation forecasts for Pakistan

Mahmood Khalid says prices matter! Everyone needs an inflation forecast nowadays. Inflation measures how much more expensive goods and services have become over a specified period. But the credibility of forecasts and estimation details play a crucial role in public acceptance of predictions. Newly published PIDE research predicts inflation in the range of 10-10.5 percent (FY 2021-22) and 11-11.5 percent (first half of FY 2022-23). These estimates are on the higher side as compared to those of the State Bank and international financial institutions. But the critical point to remember is that such high inflation hurts the poorest segment of society the most and will require increased social protection allocations.

Sentiment Analysis for COVID-19 National Vaccination Policy

Muneeb and Chandler suggest that the ability to assess constituent sentiment, within specific geographies or demographic communities, can be critical to executing vaccine distribution initiatives. For example, in preparing a distribution strategy, healthcare providers and local government health agencies require insight into general feelings about receiving a vaccination, including within specific demographic or geographic communities. Then, as the programs roll out, sentiment analysis can help to track changes in beliefs and behaviors, as well as the success of the vaccination initiative.
Despite a wealth of methods for collecting data, many policymakers have been unable to access and harness data during the pandemic. Researchers and policymakers should start laying the groundwork now for emergencies of the future, developing data-sharing agreements and privacy-protection protocols in advance to improve reaction time for such deployments in the future.

Pakistan’s Policy Options to Make Trade Work for Environmental Sustainability

Mahesh and Gonzalo suggest that Pakistan should consider joining an Environmental Goods Agreement initiative. This will reduce trade-related tariffs and non-tariff barriers to environmental goods in case it is revived by World Trade Organization (WTO) members, as could also send a positive signal for investors in the sector. It could also consider engaging actively in any WTO negotiations to reduce restrictions to trade in environmental services sectors as well.

Institution-Building-The Philanthropic Approach

By Nadeem ul Haque In the post-war world, there have been many attempts at all levels—multinational, bilateral and domestic—to foster growth and development in the low income world so that these countries could catch up with their richer brethren from the industrial countries. Why has growth not been faster? What can be done to make…… Continue reading Institution-Building-The Philanthropic Approach

Illegal Housing Societies in Islamabad

Illegal housing societies are pervasive in Islamabad. According to Capital Development Authority (CDA), 140 illegal housing societies are operating in the city, occupying over 90 percent of land in Zones 2, 4, and 5. CDA’s list of authorized societies is a misnomer as it includes names of societies that have been declared illegal by the courts or are under NAB investigations, while only 22 societies possess a NOC. How have these societies mushroomed under the watchful eyes of CDA, which has an extensive regulatory regime for the development of private housing societies? Our analysis suggests that regulatory burden, bureaucratic delays, corruption, and greed have distorted the housing market in Islamabad.

Growth Amidst Debt?

Flat vector illustration. Financial crisis. Bank liabilities, risk of bankruptcy. People are hostages of financial instability, an attempt to prevent bankruptcy, without the desirability of being unable to fulfill bank obligations

Muhammad Shaaf Najib shares a peek at the debt situation in the new budget. While the nominal figures may represent an increase in debt, a closer look shows that debt servicing costs are going down, while other indicators are also moving in a favorable direction. There is still a lot to improve on the debt front, but the initial signs of improvement are present and visible.

Tax Gap, Compliance Cost and Optimal Taxation

Portrait of successful young business team posing in office

Iftikhar Ahmed shares his thoughts on recent research from PIDE. Tax exemptions bear cost and policy makers should know it for informed policy decisions. Calculating the difference between the potential tax and actual taxation is critical. PIDE’s continued research is stepping ahead to fill this gap to help us achieve optimal taxation.

Budget 2021-22: Where Do We Stand?

Saddam Hussein’s view of the new budget is that given the tight economic conditions and with hard pill of gigantic debt servicing, it is a pro-growth, pro-poor, and balanced budget. However, the approach is the same old one – brick and mortar. If implemented in its true essence the budget will definitely bear fruit, though it’s still a short to medium term approach. The long-term approach is missing. For that, PIDE’s Reform Agenda document is a must read, advocating a change in the development paradigm. Saddam is very positive about the budget, but it is also a fact that it is not something unprecedented. A quote from Albert Einstein is most appropriate here “if you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got”.

Pending Pakistan’s Revised Base Estimates of GDP and Measurement Issues in LSM

Zahid Asghar and Mahmood Khalid make a compelling case for having a state-of-the-art research center to build national capacity to deal with issues related to measurement of GDP. Research studies should be commissioned through the research center for updating our National Accounts. PBS must collaborate and share all necessary information, and the Ministry of Planning should set research issues in coordination with the research center to overcome measurement challenges of the national economy.

Can We have Internet For All?

Lack of an enabling environment means the Pakistani market is not ready to adopt 5G technology. Pakistan is still battling to penetrate 4G, with nearly half of subscribers using 2G technology with a less expensive mobile phone. The telecommunication sector must have a sustainable framework to develop since it stimulates and helps other sectors, such as education, commerce and health, thrive in the economy. We must redefine our goals with evolution of technology and ensure internet for all is a sustainable way to achieve economic growth.

RCET Policy: A Boon or A Bane for Pakistan?

Saddam Hussein highlights PIDE research that suggests RCET is not a fiscal burden. The COVID-19 pandemic, while it has damaged economic activity severely, has also afforded Pakistan a unique chance to re-orient our textile sector. Government policies that are supportive like the RCET policy, will play a key role and would act as a catalyst in this re-orientation. Therefore, the government should continue with the RCET policy

Quality of Higher Education in Pakistan

Raja Rafiullah has found that despite the glut of university graduates and post-graduates, hiring managers often complain they cannot find “good candidates”. This deterioration in quality standards has gone on under the noses of a powerful HEC. Perhaps it is time to loosen the grip a little and allow space for innovation and growth.

Thinking Beyond Metrics in Higher Education

Zahid Asghar believes universities have a key role to play in building a prosperous, dynamic, tolerant, talent attractive and technology intensive society. Pakistan has a huge youth bulge and any negligence by society in not equipping this youth with requisite skills will lead to a demographic disaster. This requires the government to carry out comprehensive analysis of the situation and reform the higher education system with professionals who have no conflict of interests.

HEC and the Question of Higher Education

Fahd Zulfiqar believes over-regulation of Pakistan’s higher education has created too much reliance on quantity over quality now. Attaining higher education rather than undergraduate study, and a one-size-fits-all approach. This has led to micro-management and low quality of teaching. Universities have lost their autonomy and creativity/critical thinking. What HEC should be regulating must be well debated and discussed by all stakeholders.

Resolve to Revive Our Textile Sector

Based on PIDE’s recent research, Ahmed Waqar Qasim has highlighted that large investment in machinery, availability of quality raw material, enhanced skill set, and product development are essential to realize the textile sector’s export potential. Also, the government must resolve the key issues of policy consistency and energy issues facing the sector.

Pay Indexation in Pakistan

Pay Indexation using SPI inflation is an appropriate and simple technique to propose pay raise of government employees of distinct pay scales. This simple technique can be used for years to come and can even be changed as per need and intention of government. Given the same basic pay scale system, this approach also applies for Provincial Government employees.

It Is High Time We Revisited the NFC Awards in Pakistan

Pakistan need to strive for an optimal resource distribution mechanism where no one can externalize their inefficiencies upon the other members of the federation. We need a new formula which can induce maximum effort for optimal resource generation and ensure spending efficiency in order to achieve the highest possible shared prosperity. The required mechanism will need to be revisited to assess the needs of the population as well as the potential of the jurisdiction so that no one gets a free lunch.

An Apology to the Youth of Pakistan from the Older Generation

By Nadeem ul Haque Dear Youth of Pakistan,On behalf of my generation, I offer you a heartfelt apology over our failure to leave you with hope and an inheritance that you can build on. Our fathers gave us an unfinished project called Pakistan. They had, however, given in very quickly to the pleasures of colonial apartheid,…… Continue reading An Apology to the Youth of Pakistan from the Older Generation

PIDE’s Growth Reform Agenda

Shahid Sattar and Eman Ahmed suggest that the government is at the center of the economy and must change foremost, in order to make the rest of the country change. PIDE recommends the start of a digital research-oriented government from the PM and the cabinet to the lowest level. The effort to mainstream R&D everywhere in Pakistan is a central aspect of this policy.

Should Pakistan Shift to a Proportional Representation Electoral System?

Two-thirds of voters did not vote for the party which ultimately formed the government in both 2013 and 2018 General Elections respectively. The system of First Past the Post (FPTP) and Single-Member Electoral Districts are contributing reasons. With majority of the democracies worldwide having some form of a proportional electoral system, perhaps it is time for Pakistan to shift to a fully proportional system too.

Investigation of Livestock Value Chain: Constraints and Policy Implications

Pakistan has failed to fully exploit the potential of the livestock sector in alleviating rural poverty and improving food security. Abedullah shows we need more research, coordination between institutions and public private partnerships to remedy the situation.

How to increase exports for Pakistan’s sustainable economic growth?

By Shahid Sattar Pakistan’s economic growth of Pakistan is dependent on its exports by earning foreign income to finance imports, service debt, stabilize its currency and to overcome the persistent problem of the balance of payment deficit. In addition to being competitive, a country’s exports should be in line with market trends and quality, and…… Continue reading How to increase exports for Pakistan’s sustainable economic growth?

The FATF’s ‘Do More’

Khawaja Idrees considers the question of whether Pakistan will manage an exit from the FATF gray list on February 25th, 2021, or any time soon? Predicting one or the other way is difficult, however, one thing is certain – Pakistan will not go to the black list. Whether Pakistan exits or not, depends more on our foreign relations than compliance with the technical standards. Given Pakistan’s serious efforts to comply, if the country manages an exit from the grey list, she should remain on her toes. With India being a member of the FATF, Pakistan’s FATF-woes are not likely to end too soon. The solution lies in making the country economically strong enough that twisting her arm hurts the Have-countries-this will take time.

Transforming India’s Agriculture Sector for Achieving Global Competitiveness

The consensus of Abedullah Anjum and Farah Naz is that India’s government’s single point agenda is to enhance market efficiency. It is attempting this by reducing it’s footprint and promoting free market in the country. These amendments help shorten the agriculture value chains of different commodities and allow producers to interact directly with consumers.

Real Estate Myths in Pakistan and the Truth Behind Them

Ahmad Fraz suggests the government must bring a well-structured, transparent and centralized system for investors in the real estate market. The current system has overly complicated procedures of documentation and doubtful legal support. An industry regulator should be appointed, clear rules regarding land acquisition and ownership should be approved, and all property consultants and projects must be registered.

Pakistan’s NTMs: Challenges At the Border for Importers

Aadil Nakhoda believes importers are not only burdened by NTMs at the border as reported by ITC but face a range of NTMs that are different than those adopted by important trading counterparts and other regional countries. With a stronger focus on ‘at-the-border’ measures compared to other measures, the limited nature of ‘beyond-the-border’ measures adopted by Pakistani policymakers may fail to tackle market imperfections.

Lahore’s Urban Dilemma

Raja Rafiullah feels Lahore, the city known historically for its gardens and vibrant street bazars now is a victim of congestion and poor urban planning. In his blog “Lahore’s Urban Dilemma”, Rafiullah highlights that the need perhaps is to loosen the laws and give market the chance to play out its course. In doing so we can also encourage construction on all levels, decrease low-income housing shortage, create employment and invigorate the local economy.

CTBCM: Delusion of a Market

Shahid Sattar discusses the deep-rooted political economy of the energy sector. This is so deep-rooted that its influence is apparent in every facet of the market. Every decision about a power system generates political benefits and costs that are often as critical as the technical and economic factors of projects. Before hailing the CTBCM as a beacon of development, we must address the numerous underlying structural issues before we can reap the benefits of competition in this manner.

What Paradigm Shifts Are Required Within Pakistan’s Tax Policy?

Madeeha Qureshi argues that tax policy is a critical instrument for boosting growth if used properly. Our tax policy has pointed anomalies that require a paradigm shift in how we think about effective tax policy to address. Simplification of taxes in application and procedure is the key.

Is the Street Economy A Panacea for post-COVID Recovery?

In his blog on the street economy, ZIa Banday reports that street vendors in countries like ours comprise a small portion of the urban population. Estimates range between 1.2 to 2 million in urban Pakistan, and they make up 5.5% – 9.1% of urban labor force. Revenues of this informal economic segment are in hundreds of billion rupees. It may not be the panacea for economic recovery in a post-COVID 19 period, but it certainly could play a significant role in blunting the sharp edges of economic deprivation a la Chinese way.

Debt is a Problem for Us, Growth is the Solution

M. Ali Kemal suggests that growth is the key to most of our problems, whether it is related to controlling unemployment, tackling inflation, increasing revenues, decreasing poverty and inequality or repayments and maintaining debt at some sustainable level. The government would be well advised to ease permission economy and deregulate to allow high growth.

Pakistan’s Fatal Conceit of State Economic Interventions

Javed Hassan argues that the Pakistani state’s footprint has encroached well beyond the scope addressing market failures without either increasing productivity or affording consumers greater choice. The state should refrain from the fatal conceit that it can either directly control prices, or effectively coordinate the choices of people better than can be achieved by efficient free markets.

Pakistan Railways – Why not on Rails?

In their blog “Pakistan Railways – Why Not Rails,”, Saba Anwar and Gul Afrasiyab, discuss how the national rail carrier, despite having a natural corridor, suffers from poor governance and outdated infrastructure. The organization needs to reorient itself towards increasing revenue generation, boost freight operations, decrease expenditures. Leakages need to be plugged, and the business mindset needed is one of financial efficiency and embracing governance reforms.

Pakistan Steel Mills: A Cortege to Collapse

Using the performance of Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) as an example, Ms. Ramla Zubair has argued that we can infer something about the state’s role in economic activity. It is not to own, run or operate commercial entities. Instead it is to create and ensure a healthy environment for the efficient running of these entities.

Exchange Rate – Overshoot, Readjust and Overvalued

By Muhammad Ali Kemal Appreciation of the Pakistani Rupee against all major currencies in August this year took many by surprise. The rate moved from PKR 168/USD to around PKR 158/USD. During this period, Dollar index has gone down by 0.7 percent while rupee gained strength by 6.3 percent against dollar; 6.2 percent against Sterling…… Continue reading Exchange Rate – Overshoot, Readjust and Overvalued

Irregular Migration During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Recent research by Nasir Iqbal suggests that existing stringent legal and spatial barriers in literal and figurative contexts is necessary to facilitate irregular migrants. A collaborative and sectoral approach is necessary to include mainstream these migrants so they can benefit from social security packages. Nasir Iqbal also suggests geographic and social mapping of migrants in critical.

Is It Time to Close Our Schools or Not – COVID 19 and Our Future Learning

The government is again debating whether to open or close schools. In their blog “Is It Time to Close Our Schools or Not – COVID 19 and Our Future Learning” Aimen Shakeel Abbasi and Aqeel Chaudhry suggest the decision to open up schools again must be based on whether we will follow SOPs. Evidence suggests this is easier said than done, and returning to normal is not so simple.

Pakistan Needs Its Own Magna Carta

By Dr. Nadeem ul Haque and Mr. Malik Ahmad Jalal* In 1215 A. D, King John of England signed the Magna Carta (“The Great Charter”) – a historic power-sharing arrangement with a group of rebel barons. The British legal system, and the American Constitution, enshrine its philosophy. What were the principles of Magna Carta that…… Continue reading Pakistan Needs Its Own Magna Carta

Circular Economy: A Need for the 21st Century

By Ms. Henna Ahsan We buy clothes and throw them away in dustbins when they get old, we buy shoes and throw them too when they don’t remain usable, we buy utensils and throw them in dustbin too when they broke up or get so old and same is our attitude with lot of other…… Continue reading Circular Economy: A Need for the 21st Century

Lower Tax Rates and Simplified Procedures – The Tax Directory Analysis 2018

By Ms. Lubna Hasan and Mr. Aqeel Chaudhry. The Federal Bureau of Revenue recently released “Tax Directory Analysis for Tax Year 2018”. The directory, a first of its kind for Pakistan, contains data on income tax by category, regions, cities, and markets. The data is for the fiscal year 2017-18[1]. This could be termed the…… Continue reading Lower Tax Rates and Simplified Procedures – The Tax Directory Analysis 2018

Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Wheat and Inflation

By Dr. Abdul Jalil, Dr. Saud Ahmad Khan, and Dr. Nasir Iqbal Pakistan’s Wheat Pricing Wheat is one of the most strategic crops globally, which has always been a big challenge for many governments. Over the last few months, Pakistan’s government is struggling to fix wheat prices in the country due to weak governance and…… Continue reading Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Wheat and Inflation

There is Something About Exports: and It Is Productivity

By Stefania Lovo and Dr. Gonzalo Varela* Pakistan’s exports are low In per capita terms, Pakistan exported 130 USD in 2019, less than half of Bangladesh’s, and less than 20 times less than Vietnam’s per capita exports (Figure 1). They are low because they have been stagnant for too long. Pakistan’s exports today are only…… Continue reading There is Something About Exports: and It Is Productivity

The Economic Cost of Political Protests

By Nasir Iqbal A New Season of Political Protests The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the 11-party alliance, has just kicked off a new season of political protests and marches to get rid of the “fake government” responsible for inflation, unemployment, and economic destruction. Pakistan has a long history of protests, strikes, and sit-down, with enormous…… Continue reading The Economic Cost of Political Protests

Pakistan’s Power Sector Woes: Part III

By Mr. Shahid Sattar & Mr. Saad Umar Editor’s Note: This is Part 3 of a 3 part article on Pakistan’s Power Sector: A Beginning with No End. Introduction In Part I of Pakistan’s power sector woes, we considered how our power sector performed at a regional level. We discussed how it fared in terms…… Continue reading Pakistan’s Power Sector Woes: Part III

Pakistan’s Low Cost Housing Finance Policy

By Dr. Ayaz Ahmed Introduction Pakistan, like other developing countries, has been facing shortage of housing units. This fundamental human need is acting more significantly at the base of the population pyramid. Authorities have observed that interest for new homes is around 700,000 units/year. But only a small portion of this interest is met. In…… Continue reading Pakistan’s Low Cost Housing Finance Policy

Pakistan’s Power Sector Woes – Pt II

By Mr. Shahid Sattar & Mr. Saad Umar Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 of a 3 part article on Pakistan’s Power Sector: A Beginning with No End. Introduction In Part I of Pakistan’s power sector woes, we considered how our power sector performed at a regional level. We discussed how it fared in terms…… Continue reading Pakistan’s Power Sector Woes – Pt II

Barriers to Trade in the ECO Region: A Case of Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs)

By Mr. Adnan Akram and Dr. Usman Ahmad Introduction Non-tariff measures (NTMs) are policy measures other than tariffs that might impact international trade. Most NTMs serve legitimate policy goals. For example, by assuring limits on pesticides use ensures safe food to increase the welfare of the consumers. However, NTMs increase cost of trade as trading…… Continue reading Barriers to Trade in the ECO Region: A Case of Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs)

Pakistan’s Power Sector Woes – Pt I

By Mr. Shahid Sattar and Mr. Saad Umar Editor’s Note: This is Part 1 of a 3 part article on Pakistan’s Power Sector. Addressing Pakistan’s Power Sector Woes The woes of Pakistan’s power sector and associated negatives are not unknown. These range from such as impact on GDP, high tariffs, prolonged and frequent load shedding…… Continue reading Pakistan’s Power Sector Woes – Pt I

State of Graduate Unemployment in Pakistan

By Mr. Aqeel Chaudhry and Mr. Fida Muhammad Khan Graduate Unemployment and the HEC The government formed HEC in 2002. It replaced the UGC as the regulatory body of HEI’s in the country. There are now 210 HEIs, and as in many other sectors, the government has a significant presence in this sector too. Total…… Continue reading State of Graduate Unemployment in Pakistan

State of Education in Pakistan

By Mr. Abdus Sattar Economic Progress and Investment in Human Capital Schultz and Becker presented the concept of investment in human capital six decades ago. They proved that a high level of education is a necessary condition for economic growth. No country can make significant economic progress if majority of its citizens are illiterate. The…… Continue reading State of Education in Pakistan

Public Transportation System and Female Mobility in Pakistan

By Mr. Fahd Zulfiqar Identifying Issues in Pakistan’s Public Transportation System Pakistan is one of the most urbanized countries of the world and the most urbanized country in Asia Pacific with two-third of its urban population living in the ten large cities. On organizational and functional fronts, the country has been undergoing random changes in…… Continue reading Public Transportation System and Female Mobility in Pakistan

Foreign Aid or Export-Led Growth?

By Mr. Gohar Ejaz Current Debt Snapshot Pakistan’s total public debt rose to Rs36.3 trillion, which is equivalent to 87 per cent of the GDP, by the end of the previous fiscal year, and is anticipated to continue on a steep upward trajectory. It is evident that in spite of the large amounts coming in,…… Continue reading Foreign Aid or Export-Led Growth?

Is Pakistan Prematurely Deindustrializing?

by Mr. Shahid Sattar Large Scale Manufacturing and Economic Growth Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) is sine qua non for achieving sustained economic growth. In the case of Pakistan, the contribution of LSM to total manufacturing is 78%. It contributes 9.5% and 12.6% respectively to national GDP and the labor force. However, the sector has been…… Continue reading Is Pakistan Prematurely Deindustrializing?

Flattening the Curve; Pensions This Time!

By Dr. Mahmood Khalid and Dr. Naseem Faraz An Unsustainable Burden of Pensions Prime Minister Imran Khan, while chairing a cabinet meeting on August 28th, 2020 has said that  burden of pensions was fast becoming unsustainable and directed Finance Ministry to include eminent international experts in the Pay and Pension Committee to professionally evaluate the…… Continue reading Flattening the Curve; Pensions This Time!

Do We Need Metro Bus System for Improving Female Mobility?

By Dr. Faheem Jehangir Khan & Ms. Tayyeba Khalil Metro Bus Systems and Mobility Globally, Metro Bus Systems (MBS) are used to provide public transport facilities to citizens to fulfill their daily commuting needs. The MBS is a preferred way of mass transit in terms of safety, comfort, convenience, affordability and reliability. Metro service was…… Continue reading Do We Need Metro Bus System for Improving Female Mobility?

Need for Inclusive Education

By Dr. Usman Ahmad and Mr. Adnan Akram Introduction Affirmation of the right to inclusive education is part of an international shift from a “medical model” of viewing disability to a “social model” which recognizes disability as an interaction between individuals and their environment, with an emphasis on identifying and removing discriminatory barriers and attitudes…… Continue reading Need for Inclusive Education

Islamabad: A City for the Rich

by Ms. Mariam Mohsin If you have ever been to Islamabad, chances are you must have visited the city’s celebrated Jinnah Super Market. It’s luscious green. Beautiful. Packed with local and international brand outlets. It’s brimming with life – so much so that you most probably did not get a chance to look down South.…… Continue reading Islamabad: A City for the Rich

Who Protects Our ‘Thought’ Industry?

By Dr. Nadeem ul Haque Introduction Over three decades ago, Ghari Baqir returned with a PhD from Harvard. Keen to use his newfound skills to contribute to policy and thought he started teaching at university as it allowed him time to research, write books and perhaps at some stage advise the government. He had ideas…… Continue reading Who Protects Our ‘Thought’ Industry?

Avoiding a Second Wave of COVID-19 Infections: Appeal to Other-regarding Preference

By Ms. Zehra Aftab and Ms. Fareena N. Malhi Introduction Second COVID-19 infection wave an imminent threat While Pakistanis are rejoicing the onset of the downward trend in percentage of positive tests of Covid-19 infection, the threat of a second wave is very real, especially with Eid-ul-Azha just round the corner. A small miscalculation at…… Continue reading Avoiding a Second Wave of COVID-19 Infections: Appeal to Other-regarding Preference

The Challenges of Pakistan’s National Tariff Policy

By Ms. Filza Ayaz and Ms. Madeeha Gohar Qureshi Need for Tariffs The objectives of import tariffs are twofold. First is revenue generation and second is protection of domestic industry from foreign competition and foreign dumping practice. Hence, import tariff can be used for tax collection and boosting domestic industrial growth, affecting county’s competitiveness and…… Continue reading The Challenges of Pakistan’s National Tariff Policy

Primary Education in Pakistan

by Mr. Amir Hussain Primary education is the first stage of free and compulsory education in Pakistan. It has five grades of formal education for children of 5 to 9 years of age. There are four types of primary schools in Pakistan–public, private, religious and self-help schools. The medium of instruction is English and Urdu.…… Continue reading Primary Education in Pakistan

An Ad and a Postal Stamp!

Celebrating World Population Day By Durre-Nayab It is July 11 today. The day we go through our token actions and words to commemorate World Population Day. Thanks to the social distancing and ‘stay at home’ directives these days, we were spared of the yearly ‘Population March’. July is a hot and humid month anyway, and…… Continue reading An Ad and a Postal Stamp!

Energy Productivity for Sustainable Development – Pt II

By Ms. Afia Malik How are we planning for decoupling of energy and economy to secure our future generations? How are we going to increase the share of renewables in our energy mix? Yes we do have National Productivity Organisation (NPO); National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Agency (NEECA) in place of National Energy Conservation Centre…… Continue reading Energy Productivity for Sustainable Development – Pt II

Understanding the Textile Value Chain (TVC)

by Mr. Shahid Sattar There’s no denying that the Textile Value Chain (TVC) is holding a dominating position by far in Pakistan. It varies in range from cotton production to prêt-à-porter and export. Conversion of cotton lint to a finished product is a tough row to hoe involving many actors, industrial units and processes. The…… Continue reading Understanding the Textile Value Chain (TVC)

Energy Productivity for Sustainable Development – Pt I

by Ms. Afia Malik Energy productivity has become an important policy instrument across the globe, as it provide details of energy consumed while focusing on growth, economic diversification, innovative technologies and also efficiency in the use of energy. Its effects are positive on country’s economic growth. This new paradigm allows all economic activities to seize…… Continue reading Energy Productivity for Sustainable Development – Pt I

What is Holding Back Milk Production in Pakistan?

By Mr. Abdus Sattar Pakistan is the 4th largest milk producing country in the world. It produced 48 million tonnes milk in 2019, which was 6% of total world milk production. The dairy sector has great potential to flourish in future in Pakistan. Major issues, outlined below, that are holding back the sector need to…… Continue reading What is Holding Back Milk Production in Pakistan?

Mis-targeting or Under-performance: A case of Monetary Policy in Pakistan

by Dr. Ahsan ul Haq Satti State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) traditional functions include issuance of currency notes, regulating the financial sector, conduct of monetary policy, and lender of last resort whereas the secondary functions are managing foreign exchange and public debt, maintaining close relationships with international financial institutions and working as policy advisor of…… Continue reading Mis-targeting or Under-performance: A case of Monetary Policy in Pakistan

Employees Engagement and Augmented Learning

By Dr. Nadeem Ahmed Khan According to a recent SHRM study, employee engagement is the No. 1 issue that has been acknowledged by surveyed HR professionals. One challenge is to involve employees across multiple generations and retain top performers to encourage them. There is a good reason for employers to invest in training to increase…… Continue reading Employees Engagement and Augmented Learning

Devolving Power

By Daniyal Aziz Structural tensions impact attempts to devolve authority to lower tiers of the state In Pakistan, legislative initiatives to devolve powers from the provincial to the local level and from the federal to the provincial level have not been well received by the elite bureaucracy. The federal and provincial Civil Service Acts, purportedly…… Continue reading Devolving Power

Anti-Corruption Dynamics of Pakistan in Face of Succumbed Perceptions

By Ms. Nadia Hassan[1] and Dr. Hasan Rasool Corruption is commonly termed as “misuse of public office for private gain”. It has adverse implications for development and governance initiatives. Such as, creating doubt about the legitimacy of state institutions and credibility of public policies. Therefore, it has become a major challenge in various countries. The…… Continue reading Anti-Corruption Dynamics of Pakistan in Face of Succumbed Perceptions

Decentralization and Institutions: An Insight


By Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad and Dr. Muhammad Jehangir Khan Around the world, governments strive hard to optimally provide public goods to its people. They tried to ensure this optimal provision through their implementing agents. But implementing agents, most often, are deficient in or do not possess the qualities of an ideal implementing agent. So, in…… Continue reading Decentralization and Institutions: An Insight

Pensions, Aging of Population, and Fiscal Situation in Pakistan

By Mr. Omer Siddique The fiscal impact of government employees’ pension is fast becoming a ticking time bomb.  The demographic transition – the aging of the population due to declining fertility and increasing life-expectancy – is not going to help in the long run. According to a thesis completed at PIDE, it is estimated that…… Continue reading Pensions, Aging of Population, and Fiscal Situation in Pakistan

Take Policy Back From the ‘Economic Hit-men’

By Dr. Nadeem ul Haque Everyone is familiar with “Economic Hit-men” and what they do to poor countries. Many Pakistani TV commentators and columnists have been referring to “Economic Hit-men” but mainly in the context of debt. However, Hit-men have evolved beyond the book and operate much more subtly now. Now they control of policy…… Continue reading Take Policy Back From the ‘Economic Hit-men’

CPEC: Phases and Challenges

by Dr. Nasir Iqbal After four years of Phase I of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan is now ready to enter Phase II. Some 27 projects are planned within the framework of Phase II. This phase emphasizes industrial cooperation, agricultural development and trade promotion. In addition, the tourism sector is also expected to expand.…… Continue reading CPEC: Phases and Challenges

High Rise, Lahore Urban Sprawl and PM Khan’s Directive

by Mr. Aqeel Chaudhry Why we will not be seeing any high rise buildings in Pakistan any time soon is because they are expensive? That is only one part of the puzzle that entirely depends on the market. Other parts of the puzzle are the regulations that are not allowing the market to act freely.…… Continue reading High Rise, Lahore Urban Sprawl and PM Khan’s Directive

Macro Models for Policy

by Dr. Asad Zaman Background This post presents an Executive Summary of major findings and recommendations which emerged from the seminar on “Macro Models for Policy and Planning”. PIDE and NIBAF jointly organized this seminar in 2016 at the request of Mr Ishaq Dar and Mr. Ahsan Iqbal. There was wide participation from several ministries…… Continue reading Macro Models for Policy

Enough “Bricks and Mortar”!

by Dr. Nadeem ul Haque The novel corona virus has exposed the weakness of our development planning. We have plush roads for our cars, but our health industry remains stagnant. We have 200 universities with few accomplished professors to lead the research effort to fight the corona. By design, the focus of the Public Sector…… Continue reading Enough “Bricks and Mortar”!

Urban Management: Thinking Beyond Master Plans

by Mr. Nadeem Khurshid Yesteryear, Prime Ministers’ public vision statement for having ‘Denser and Vertical Cities’ stirred a new wave of debate and activity amongst dormant urban institutions. All in the public and donor sectors started prophesizing ‘Master Planning’ as a silver bullet to resolve all urban issues overnight. Urban heavyweights in Punjab, such as…… Continue reading Urban Management: Thinking Beyond Master Plans

Our Poor ‘Ease of Living’ Indicators

By Nadeem Khurshid Globally, cities are considered ‘economic powerhouses’ while contributing almost 80% to world GDP. For being economically productive and competitive, a city must first be advantageous, vibrant, efficient, inclusive and livable. We frequently listen to the “Ease of Doing Business” mantra but hardly think of “Ease of Living” parameters for our cities since…… Continue reading Our Poor ‘Ease of Living’ Indicators

A Quick Note on SBP Announcement

by Dr. Abdul Jalil State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) announced three measures in its monetary policy statements to address the economic and recent health challenges in the backdrop of spread of COVID-19. First, it cut its policy rate by 75 basis points. Second, it announced a “Temporary Economic Refinance Facility (TERF)” to encourage new investment…… Continue reading A Quick Note on SBP Announcement

Reducing Poverty Through Micro-finance

by Dr. Farhat Mahmood Micro-financing is a significant financial sector development that specifically impacts those without access to, or neglected by, financial institutions. The modern concept was formally introduced in the 1970s with the establishment of Grameen Bank by Professor Mohammad Yunus. Grameen is for exclusive use of the poor. Micro-finance institutions relax financial constraints…… Continue reading Reducing Poverty Through Micro-finance

Invisible Damage: The Hidden Cost of Breathing Polluted Air

by Dr. Muhammad Nasir To say that a healthy, productive and innovative labor force is essential for sustainable economic growth is stating the obvious. It is no secret that investment in human capital through education and skill development helps create such a workforce. What is not so obvious, or something we turn a blind eye…… Continue reading Invisible Damage: The Hidden Cost of Breathing Polluted Air

Production Or Real Estate Activities: What do we want from SEZs and IEs

by Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad One is caught by surprise when we look at the government’s rush for all kinds of SEZs (including the federal and provincial level SEZs as well as simple and priority SEZs-under CPEC, along with certain voices for specialized SEZs for SMEs). Government is ready to accept all available modes of financing…… Continue reading Production Or Real Estate Activities: What do we want from SEZs and IEs