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Covid 19 chance to strucrural reform in Pakistan

COVID-19 Chance to Structural Reform in Pakistan: WB

ISLAMABAD – The World Bank (WB) has said that Pakistan is not immune to the economic shock caused by the coronavirus and its exports have been greatly affected, since the country registered $1.39 billion in merchandise exports in May 2020, showing a drop in 34 percent over the same period in 2019.
World Bank Chief Economist Gonzalo Varela, in an online interactive session with APBF members, noted that each crisis presents an opportunity. At the same time, COVID-19 provided the world and Pakistan with the opportunity to initiate structural reforms in institutions. The All Business Forum had organized this meeting with him to discuss Pakistan’s current economic situation. It recommended some critical steps to revive and sustain economic growth in the post-crown slowdown.
The World Bank’s chief economist said, the short-term world trade prospects offer no room for optimism, as experts forecast contractions in exports in the coming months. At that time, exports are crucial to Pakistan’s recovery because they are labor-intensive and provide many good jobs for Pakistanis. He said that global and regional trade integration offers Pakistan enormous potential to drive and sustain growth and poverty reduction.
He suggested the need to protect exporters through smart export promotion, while structured reforms would be crucial to recovery.
He said the government must take steps to help accelerate its export recovery by making it competitive, lifting barriers to exports, including lowering import restrictions. Companies need to import and export successfully.
Speaking on the occasion, APBF President, Syed Maaz Mahmood, welcomed the debt relief measures taken by the G20 countries, the IMF and the World Bank for developing countries, including Pakistan.
He urged multilateral development partners, including the World Bank, to play their due role by investing in the social sector rather than just mega development projects, which would help member governments refocus on social sector development.
He said that Pakistan’s health care system was not equipped to handle such emergencies, while WB was working with the government to help improve health capacity to respond to the challenge effectively, which is appreciable.
Syed Maaz Mahmood noted that the initial aid packages of $1.4 billion by the IMF and $1 billion by the World Bank would have a substantial impact and provide much-needed fiscal space for Pakistan that should be used for the well-being and public welfare.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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