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ISLAMABAD: The two-day EconFest event concluded here on Sunday where experts and politicians discussed innovative ideas with a mosaic of diverse perspectives. The children of Sweet Home also visited the event.

The experts expressed concern on consistently high Inflation in the country. They said the government opts for a strong-arm market, a method that has universally failed. They said the IMF asks for reduction of budget deficit, yet the government remains reluctant.

In a session “Are we a talent repellent country, the speakers said that brain drain is a critical concern in Pakistan, characterised by a substantial outflow of highly skilled professionals, seeking brighter prospects abroad.

In another session titled why business don’t flourish in Pakistan, the speakers were of the opinion that there is a well-established notion that businesses do not flourish here due to a non-conducive environment which includes bureaucratic friction, uncertain policies & political instability, among other reasons.

They said challenges hindering business growth in Pakistan are multifaceted: economic instability, energy woes, bureaucratic red tape, and security concerns, among others. Complex tax structures and policy inconsistencies further burden the businesses. They stressed that inflation dynamics, policy response and reporting need to be strengthened.

On the topic of elite capture, the speakers said that word rich is often confused with elite. The gap between the common populace and elites is widening, but nobody knows how this gap can be bridged.

Panellists also discussed existing problems the women face in our society when trying to use digital technology for economic, financial & social empowerment. They spoke on potential opportunities and policy implications for how these gaps can be filled.

Justice Babar Sattar of Islamabad High Court (IHC) said stay orders for longer periods show inefficiency of judicial system, resulting in increased pendency of cases of taxes and other fiscal-related issues. Should the judiciary be taking up each & every issue that is brought in front of it?

In another session, the speakers said that poverty has become one of the most pressing problems. It is an emotional subject that needs to be unpacked. Why can’t we agree on a single definition of poverty? Has poverty increased or declined in Pakistan?

A session on bad governance in energy sector started with some serious questions. The experts said that energy crisis can be addressed if there is effective regulation instead of a regulatory burden. They urged to make companies accountable for their operational & financial decisions. They asked for decentralisation of the whole energy system.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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