ISLAMABAD: Undeterred by the failures of development plans in the past, the government is working on ‘Vision 2035’ and ‘Vision 2047’ agenda, with the Planning Commission having initiated a study aimed at drawing a roadmap for the country’s rapid socioeconomic development.

The study, which will identify policy choices that the country’s leadership may need to make in consultation with all stakeholders and adopt a roadmap for swift development, will be completed within a couple of months.

To supervise the initiative, a steering committee comprising top economists, representatives of private sector and research institutions in the country was constituted. The Planning Commission’s chief economist will coordinate the exercise.

“The study would be launched at the start of 2023 and will act as a prelude to developing Pakistan’s Vision 2035 and Vision 2047,” said Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal while presiding over a meeting here on Sunday. He said: “Pakistan’s economy requires fundamental structural changes and development of new export-led growth paradigm. This can only be achieved by following a consistent policy framework for at least a decade.”

Minister says economy requires structural changes, formulation of new export-led growth paradigm

The minister claimed that the country was well on its way in 2017-18 to realise the target of joining world’s top 25 economies by 2025, as set in Pakistan Vision 2025 launched under the PML-N government in 2014, but the “change of government in 2018 caused a major diversion”.

Unfortunately, he added, the continuity of policies was discarded and path of confrontation and reversals was adopted by the previous government that destroyed investors’ confidence and the progress.

Nearly four years later, “we inherited a country close to economic bankruptcy”, the minister said.

He said the PML-N government’s topmost priority from day one had been to bring about an economic turnaround and stabilisation in the country and resume the journey to national progress.

“Pakistan Outlook 2035 will help us understand where we are at present and where are we headed, if we do business as usual, a decade and a half later,” he said.

During the meeting, all planning commission members were asked to complete the study through engagement with relevant stakeholders of their respective fields. It also decided to set up a steering committee to supervise the initiative.

The future needs assessment and target setting in Pakistan Outlook 2035 will be done on the basis of seven pillars of the previous vision, which included developing human and social capital; achieving sustained, indigenous and inclusive growth, democratic governance, institutional reform and modernisation of the public sector; energy, water and food security; private sector and entrepreneurship-led growth; developing a competitive knowledge economy through value addition; and modernising transportation infrastructure and greater regional connectivity.

In each case, the needs assessment and target setting will be done on the basis of two scenarios: the business-as-usual scenario and the aspirational or transformational scenario.

In order to incrementally achieve tangible progress in key spheres of socioeconomic development, the study will assess the evolving needs and specify requisite interventions in each sphere on immediate, mid-term and long-term basis. It will also take into consideration the enabling and constraining factors in the process.

“In health and education, for instance, we will have to assess ahead of time what new facilities and staff we need in the light of expanding population and resource crunch. It is only on the basis of such assessment that we can optimally utilise existing human and material resources and mobilize new ones,” said chief economist Dr Nadeem Javed.

Pakistan Outlook 2035 strategic document will be aligned with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, ranging from poverty alleviation to climate change, on which the government is committed to realise credible progress by 2030.

The findings and recommendations of the study will be shared with the political leadership so that a national consensus is built on how to steer the country towards sustainable economic prosperity despite economic and political uncertainties along the way.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2022

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