Federal Minister for Planning Development & Special Initiatives (MoPDSI) Ahsan Iqbal stressed the need for higher education, especially for the youth in far-flung areas to access which he said was only possible by building more universities. He said this while congratulating the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) and BUITEMS for conducting a successful conference which concluded here.

The 3-day 36th AGM & Conference of Pakistan Society of Development Economists (PSDE) was organized by PIDE in collaboration with Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS), the minister graced the occasion as the chief guest.

The theme of the conference was “Charter of Economy: Investment, Productivity, and Employability.” The collaborators and sponsors of the conference included the World Bank Group, CPEC Center of Excellence, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, IFAD, National Poverty Graduation Program, Engro, PPAF, the Bank of Punjab, PMIC, ILO, Nafees Poly Pack, Saudi-Pak Industrial and Agricultural Investment Company, and the University of Balochistan.

Prof Iqbal stressed the need for higher education, especially for the youth in far-flung areas which he said was only possible by building more universities.

He hoped that this conference would shed light on solutions to our problems, adding, “my [Ahsan Iqbal] experience has been that for every economist there is an opposite economist”, so the consensus is hard to come by.

He said the need of the hour was policy consistency and continuity. This key difference sets India and Bangladesh apart from us. He said that we must focus on political stability and export-led growth.

Prof. Iqbal stressed the need to focus on the 5Es Enterprise and exports, Equity in society through strengthened health and education. Twenty districts have been identified for accelerated growth programs, E-Pakistan and empowerment of youth, Energy efficiency and conservation, Environment and Food Security.

Meanwhile, Nadeem ul Haque, the Vice-Chancellor of PIDE, in his address, said that PIDE had come up with a charter of the economy. He stressed the need to ‘delink’ politics with economics, which were, according to him, separate domains. However, he acknowledged that a political consensus is needed if the charter of the economy was to be implemented.

The charter talks about, among other things, the kind of parliamentary and local governance structure we should have. Moreover, it also poses the question of whether there should be a limit on the term of a member of parliament and the structure of senate elections.

Related: Ahsan Iqbal Underlines Significance of Education for Peace

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Arsalan Haider is a reporter at Academia Mag and has worked with leading national dailies and news channels. He tweets @arsalanhaider14

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