April 23, 2021: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin, chaired the first session of the EAC after its re-constitution at the Finance Division yesterday.
Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division Omar Ayub Khan, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Advisor to the PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SAPM on Overseas Pakistanis & Human Resource Development Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, SAPM on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood, Chairman FBR, Chairman BOI and Governor State Bank of Pakistan Dr. Reza Baqir participated as official members. The EAC meeting was also attended by the leading representatives from the private corporate sector.
In his opening remarks, the Finance Minister welcomed all the official and private members and emphasized the importance of evolving consensus on macro-economic stabilization measures and reform agenda for an inclusive and sustained economic growth after taking all stakeholders on board. The EAC will follow a consultative process and suggest policy initiatives to optimize and further strengthen the financial and economic policies aimed at enhancing public welfare.
The Finance Minister formulated sub-groups and assigned areas for further deliberation and directed to firm-up proposals after seeking input from all concerned. The Finance Minister emphasized presenting short, medium and long-term plans with respective timelines for an effective way forward. The EAC will meet frequently, and members would present recommendations before the Committee for detailed discussion.
The SAPM on Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood made a detailed presentation and outlined key priority areas for productive discussion including sustained and inclusive economic growth, employment generation, price stability mechanism, tax reforms, the Housing sector, Ease of Doing Business, pension reforms, rationalization of subsidies, food security, revamping power and energy sectors, social protection network, health and improvement in overall governance.
The Federal Ministers briefed the Committee about the initiatives taken and progress made in their respective areas.
The private members of the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) also gave their valuable input regarding strengthening the Blue economy, the need for road-to-market infrastructure development, import-substitution, mechanized farming, gender-sensitive employment initiatives, harmonizing tax and tariff structures, climate change, SMEs, and streamlining circular debt and other power-related issues.
The Finance Minister appreciated the innovative ideas given by the members and emphasized the active participation of key stakeholders in evolving consensus for sound economic planning. He underscored the importance of Provincial participation in concerned areas for working out holistic solutions to the current economic problems.
In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister stated that EAC is a well-informed and well-represented forum comprising of official and private representatives. There is a need to instill confidence and build public sentiment for sustainable and all-inclusive economic growth. He hoped that collective decision-making would help in putting an end to repeated boom-and-bust cycles which played havoc with our national economy over the years.