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KARACHI: Sindh Governor Imran Ismail inaugurated the first international conference on ‘Economics and Sustainable Development’ hosted virtually by the School of Economics and Social Sciences at the IBA Karachi, in collaboration with the Centre for Business and Economic Research (CBER).

In his speech, the governor spoke at length on the devastating impact of Covid-19 and the hardships faced by Pakistani households. “The households adopted adverse coping strategies to deal with this shock. They reduced their expenditure on health, and education and switched to lower quality or decreased quantity of food. In this context, I appreciate the lead taken by the IBA to discuss and bring to the table the economic and social issues in the current times,” governor said.

The IBA Karachi Executive Director S Akbar Zaidi highlighted the reason for organizing the conference saying “There is a need for us to think about why Pakistan’s economy is not doing well and understand a wide range of explanation for our present imbroglio. This extensive conference will touch upon current macroeconomic concerns and help policymakers in making informed decisions on matters related to inequality, economic growth and development”.

Later, celebrated economist and accomplished author Dr Lant Pritchett from the Oxford University delivered the keynote address. In his speech, Dr Pritchett spoke at length on state capability and the major role that governments and policymakers play in the development process, constantly introducing reforms and policies to achieve developmental objectives. Many of these interventions have limited impact, and reveal gaps in capabilities, and weaknesses in the process of building state capability.

Dr Pritchett highlighted that state capability is central to achieving higher levels of human wellbeing outcomes in some ways even more important than growth.

Technical parallel sessions followed Dr Pritchett’s address, where PhD scholars and leading researchers presented their papers on a variety of topics ranging from free-trade challenges for Pakistan to fiscal challenges in South-Asian countries.

The day concluded with a panel discussion on ‘Growth and Economic Stability: Challenges and Prospects’ featuring renowned speakers including former federal minister for finance Dr Miftah Ismail, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics vice chancellor Dr Nadeem-ul-Haque, and former deputy chairman of Planning Commission Sakib Sherani, CEO Macro Economic Insights & Member of the Economic Advisory Council, and Asim Bashir Khan, PhD Scholar at the IBA Karachi.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021