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Pakistan ranked 124 among 144 economies

News: Pakistan ranked 124 among 144 economies
Publication: The Lahore Times
Date: September 8, 2012
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Global Competitiveness Index 2012

By Javed Iqbal
Published: September 8, 2012




The Global Competitiveness Index 2012 servers a grim reminder to the vexing drivers of growth making the national economy highly uncompetitive and echoes a clarion call to those who are sailing the ship of governance to improve delivery in conformity with the requirements of  the global economy expanding the horizons of transnational private investment.  Of 144 countries, Pakistan in the overall index comes at 124th rank, dragging down its standing by 6 ranks compared with the GCI 2011-12.

Yet, more offbeat bulletin for the country is that of its 134th rank on the ‘basic requirements’, capturing performance of the countries against the pillars with regard to institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, while the ensuing aggregate ranks of some of the South Asian countries on these very basics pillars leave us much behind-Nepal (121), Bangladesh (107) and India (39).

Against the indicator ‘women in labor force, ratio to men’, the country’s dismal rank at 140 exposes the high gender disparity and the dynamics of male dominated society. To put it more precisely, a part of the fallout is keeping aloof almost half of the workforce from employment opportunities in formal sectors of the economy.

One should not lose sight of the fact that the ‘basic requirements’ are as critical for competitive markets as fulfillment of basic human needs are for subsistence of human-beings. Is it not a poverty of the two sorts in different shades?

On the positive note, it bodes well that against the indicator of ‘Judicial independence’, Pakistan at 57th position is better off than 87 other countries. Indeed, neutrality of judiciary provides a flicker of optimism for the receding economy and governance as well.

Paradoxically, a raft of issues covering deplorable and depleting network of roads and railways, crises of electricity, low social indicators, higher gender disparity, nepotism, over-sized public sector, corruption, fiscal indiscipline and lack of business ethics are the stark retarders of performance, incrementally taking away the very ‘basics’ of growth. Summing up, the question in the ultimate analysis boils down to the governance, not delivering so far and needs a turnaround.

Apart from rosy speeches and conferences, national leaders may glance over the whole gambit of issues to unfold what has gone really wrong and what possible way outs are to the vows.

To make a quick transition from the factor-led economy, mostly owned by the government itself to the one to be propelled by economic and technical efficiencies, research and innovation, there must be a paradigm shift in the public policies to making private sector as a powerhouse of growth and ensuring ‘inclusive development’ with emphasis on extending opportunities of employment to females and keeping the rule of law in high esteem at the echelon of governance.

The writer is a development economist and graduate of NMSU. He can be reached at nmsu_joy@yahoo.com

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