Sardar Aseff Ahmad Ali, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Dr Rashid Amjad, President, Pakistan Society of Development Economists, Honourable Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen! It is indeed a privilege and honour to address this distinguished gathering of economists. I am very happy that this meeting is being attended by internationally acclaimed economists and academics from both within and outside the country. I am especially heartened to see that students of economics from all over Pakistan have been especially invited to attend this meeting. Over the years the Annual Conference of the Pakistan Society of Development Economists has become one of the leading events on the calendar of meetings where experts from various disciplines discuss cutting edge issues that confront developing economies in general and Pakistan’s economy in particular. The Pakistan Institute of Development Economics is to be congratulated for holding such conferences on an annual and regular basis. The President of the Society has mentioned that I have actively encouraged the participation of economic experts, academics and researchers in the policy planning process. I firmly believe that this interaction will lead to framing of economic policies that respond to our economic needs and lead to more sustainable and equitable economic growth. I will continue to involve our body of economists in formulating policies and thank you for your offer to work closely with our government. The theme of this year’s Meeting “Economic Sustainability in a Globalised World” is very timely and touches the very heart of the economic challenge we face at the global and national level. The world has witnessed a global financial meltdown which started in the USA but spread to other parts of the world, both developed and developing. This financial crisis has now hit the real economy, causing a massive decline in global manufacturing output and global trade which is the worst since the Great Depression in 1929. World output is projected to shrink in 2009 and world trade expected to decline markedly this year.