Lucas Economics Society holds Pre Budget Seminar 2014-15 May08


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Lucas Economics Society holds Pre Budget Seminar 2014-15

Lucas Economics Society (LES) hosted a guest speaker session by renowned economist, Oxford educated, former Governor State Bank of Pakistan Shahid Kardar on pre-budget session on Wednesday 30 May 2014. In his presentation, Mr Kardar talked about the socio-economic problems that haunt the country at the moment and presented statistics about lack of growth and unemployment. He particularly stressed on the waste of human resources, citing the backlog of 1.3 million people who do not get jobs every year, as an example. He further argued that we need one-third of the GDP as investment but never in our nearly 70 year’s old history have we got close to that target thereby resulting in the accumulation of debt through borrowing.

Furthermore, Mr Kardar said that the government is handicapped by issues like poor tax returns. “Pakistan’s Tax: GDP ratio is lower than that of Afghanistan,” he said. He revealed that there are 3.2 million commercial electricity connections and only 34,000 out of those pay taxes, which is even lower than a small state like Guatemala. The lecture soon turned into a discussion forum with active participation from the audience.

Mr Kardar also spoke about spending, where questions of privatization sprang up. Addressing this issues, Mr Kardar, continued to speak about losses incurred by LESCO, KESCO, PIA and Steel Mill. Topics like imbalance in the social contract, lack of downsizing in the Federal government, and voting behavior were also discussed. Mr Kardar ended his discussion with the quote:

“When Nawaz Sharif would know that he will get elected regardless of reform in the aforementioned sectors then there is no way that he will even care changing.”

Lastly, he critiqued our fascination with foreign models and the wishful thinking of a foreign messiah coming and setting everything straight. He further stressed that reform needs to come from within and we need to rise up ethically as a nation and set our priorities right.

In the end, President LES Raja Hashim thanked the audience and the guest for the motivational and thought-provoking session and gave a short recap of all the ventures of the society in the previous academic year.