LAHORE: Former State Bank of Pakistan governor Dr Ishrat Hussain on Wednesday spoke about economic and political disparities among countries as a result of pandemic.

Dr Hussain, who served as adviser to the prime minister on institutional reforms and austerity, spoke as the chief guest at the launch of book “Covid-19 Crisis & Asian Migration” edited by Dr Nasra M. Shah, at the Lahore School of Economics, Burki Campus.

Dr Azam Amjad Chaudhry, HoD and Dean of Faculty of Economics, opened the proceedings of the launch. Dr Hussain highlighted the population dynamics of Pakistan and advanced economies, and the employment opportunities that may arise from these. He elaborated that Japan and Europe were facing a decline in population growth which will materialise into shortage of labour.

Pakistan that has a growing population and labour force can make up for the shortage in these economies but the ability to exploit that opportunity rests on being able to identify the relevant sectors and building the required skill sets. He raised important questions for future policy and research.

As for Saudi Arabia, host to the largest Pakistani migrant workers, he drew attention to the implications of liberalisation happening in the country on the outflows of migrants from Pakistan and the living conditions of all migrant workers in general.

He also touched upon the issue of stigmatisation of migrant workers in the host countries and xenophobia. On the subject of remittances, he pointed out that while the macroeconomic linkages and importance has been well established, there is need to evaluate the consumption patterns of these remittances by households.

Dr Nasra Shah, Coordinator CIMRAD and Professor at Graduate Institute of Development Studies (GIDS), presented an overview of the book.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2021

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