Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Inaugural Address (PDR Vol. 44 No.4 Part I-2005)

Author: Shaukat Aziz

It is a real privilege to be in the midst of such an august gathering for the fourth time in six years. Last night as I was preparing my remarks to come here I could not help but think about my first interaction in this very hotel in Islamabad six years ago. It was the 15th AGM of PSDE where in November 1999, I had been in the office for a few weeks, I took this opportunity to present a road map to this very audience. We have come a long way since November 1999. As I reflected last night, six years ago it was a very daunting, exciting and a very stimulating thought process. Six years ago the country was faced with many challenges. Today, we are also faced with challenges but different challenges. Six years ago we were in crisis management rather then economic management. Today we are in a different plane and heading towards a different destination. In my remarks six years ago I talked about the need for good governance, the need for structural reforms and the need for raising the quality of people we have engaged, i.e., increasing the human capital of the country and improving it. I do not want to spend too much time on where we were six years ago except to say that the country was in a debt trap, and we were living from crisis to crisis. We were in a balance of payment situation where the situation was precarious, our credit rating was off the charts, creditors were chasing us to be paid. I remember entering the MoF office every morning and suppliers, mostly foreigners, chasing us as to when we will be paid. So we were in technical default and so on and so forth. The fund programme was going from tranche to tranche. Why did a sovereign state of 150 million people end up the way it did six years ago and we still have a lot of work to do. We also had issues like IPP’s impacting the investment climate in the country. We had a lot of litigation going as a result the deficits were huge and growing. Overall situation look challenging. At that time I had talked about the need for reforms.

Shaukat Aziz