PIDE’s growth reform agenda

Publication Year : 2021

Sustained economic growth has remained, for the most part, elusive for Pakistan. When we seek growth, we tend to focus on policy formation and the role of the government, but perhaps we need to adjust our lens and question the large footprint of the public sector in our policymaking landscape, along with the reliance on brick-and-mortar reforms and foreign aid. As a far more viable alternative, uplifting local businesses and fostering competitive markets with openness can bring forward champions and lead to much-needed investments. This is one of the key takeaways from the PIDE Reform Agenda, which we will draw upon heavily in this article. For the last 60 years, Pakistan has been following a project-based growth model that relies heavily on foreign borrowing. Known as the HAQ/HAG Model, while this may have held some weight back in the day, it is largely obsolete now, yet it has continued to shape our policy, basing it around three things: 1. Building physical (‘brick and mortar’) projects 2. 5 year plans to justify the projects 3. Seeking foreign aid given the urgent need to build beyond domestic resources.