March 28, 2022 | Islamabad, PakistanA team of local PEP researchers held a national policy conference to share their findings on how fiscal policies can be designed to better protect public welfare in Pakistan during shocks like the Covid-19 pandemic.
March 28, 2022 – A team of local PEP researchers held a national policy conference to share their recommendations for promoting an inclusive recovery from shocks like the Covid-19 crisis in Pakistan.
The team brought together over 100 policy stakeholders and advisors, academics, representatives of civil society and the private sector for the event. The key policy stakeholders in attendance included representatives of the Prime Minister’s Office, the National Assembly, the National Tariff Commission, and the Bank of Khyber.
Members of the opposition party, as well as the sitting government, attended the event. The team is therefore hopeful that their research will remain influential even if the government changes as a result of the upcoming general elections.
Dr Saira Ahmed presented the findings and recommendations from the team’s PEP project investigating policy responses and interventions to promote inclusive adaptation to and recovery from the COVID-19 crisis in Pakistan.
She explained how the effects of the pandemic in Pakistan had been far more severe than initially envisaged, placing a severe financial burden on the government. She then shared the team’s findings showing that fiscal relief focusing on the manufacturing and services sectors are promising, with gains in GDP and investments, respectively. Furthermore, the former can also increase consumer welfare.
Her presentation was followed by keynote addresses from direct policy advisors: one, a senior policy specialist at the Government’s Strategic Policy Planning Cell; another the Director and CEO of the Bank of Khyber. They spoke on how long-term planning is essential for the country’s fiscal policy, and how industrialization must remain central to efforts to enhance economic growth, respectively.
The audience showed their appreciation for the team’s methodology and findings, and emphasised the shortcomings of Pakistan’s fiscal response to the pandemic. In particular, representatives of the Prime Minister’s Office assured those present they would convene a special meeting to discuss the team’s findings with the Prime Minister and the parliamentary committee on finance and economic governance.
The team hopes that attendance of high-level politicians at this event will lead to more collaborations between academic and the policy sector.
Three journalists attended the event, including from Pakistan National News Television and K2 Youth National TV, underlining the public interest in the team’s results and recommendations.
The research team organized the event with financial and advisory support from PEP.