Pakistan needs to take tough decisions: DFID

Published January 30, 2019
DFID Chief Economist Rachel Glennerster.— Photo courtesy of Twitter
DFID Chief Economist Rachel Glennerster.— Photo courtesy of Twitter

ISLAMABAD: The UK Department for International Development (DFID) has asked the government to take ‘tough decisions’ to reform various sectors of the economy.

The DFID is working with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank to support Pakistan’s economic reform programmes.

Talking to a group of journalists on Tuesday, DFID Chief Economist Rachel Glennerster said there exists a good understanding of what is to be done, and now is the time to take tough decisions and prioritise decisions for implementation.

If the government wants to take tough fundamental reforms, it is hard to do in multiple sectors at one time. “If you can take tough long-term decisions, they can be pushed towards implementation very effectively”, Ms Glennerster said.

The government should think in a big way and explain to the people the benefits of the decisions, which may be short-term. Then the international community will come and support, she said.

The DFID official said that Pakistan has a long list of priorities, and the first priority should be to improve economic development and then the government can focus on implementing measures for improvement.

The main challenge for the government now is to think where it wants to prioritise reforms and follow detailed steps to start implementing these reforms for long-term prospects of economic growth.

For this, if the government has to go to the IMF, the right thing to do is to get into the programme, she said.

The United Kingdom was integral to Pakistan’s completion of a three-year IMF programme in 2016, averting a financial crisis in 2013.

The chief economist said that she was encouraged by lots of optimism to improve the economic situation of Pakistan. “I am also encouraged by the seriousness with which a lot of people in and outside the government were thinking about the reforms in the economy”, she remarked.

She was of the view that challenges remain in trade integration, energy, agriculture and in all other sectors.

The DFID’s budget for assistance to Pakistan in various social sectors for 2018-19 is £325 million, and the planned budget for 2019-20 is expected to be £302m.

In 2018-19, the DFID’s largest bilateral spending was in human development, followed by economic development, governance and security, and climate and environment.

Top three spending programmes in 2018-19 were: the second phase of Punjab Education Support Progra­mme (£67.2m), Pakistan Economic Corridors Programme (£56.3m), and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa education sector programme (£41m).

Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2019

Opinion

Crisis looming
Updated 21 Oct 2021

Crisis looming

It will be a terrible mistake for the PM, his acolytes to underestimate the strength of the wave that is about to hit them.
An eye-opener
21 Oct 2021

An eye-opener

A daring report by Indian savants could have been written here.
Past, present, forever
Updated 20 Oct 2021

Past, present, forever

Despite their close relationship, this is hardly the first time the PTI and the military have not been BFFs.

Editorial

Not just cricket
Updated 21 Oct 2021

Not just cricket

Hype surrounding the match — sold out as soon as tickets sales opened — has overshadowed the other games, as well as other teams.
Local governance
21 Oct 2021

Local governance

The court ruling restoring local institutions in Punjab should go a long way in ensuring the continuation of grassroots democracy.
21 Oct 2021

Breast cancer awareness

LIKE so many other issues relating to women’s health in Pakistan, breast cancer is not a subject of serious...
Opposition’s chance?
Updated 19 Oct 2021

Opposition’s chance?

What the opposition can do is take advantage of the cleavage between PTI and the establishment, perhaps widen it and leverage it.
Evading tax laws
Updated 20 Oct 2021

Evading tax laws

Challenge of tax compliance can't be dealt with without directly taxing incomes irrespective of source and punishing tax evaders.
19 Oct 2021

KCR delays

AS political and bureaucratic stakeholders drag their feet over reviving the Karachi Circular Railway, residents of...