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National

September 5, 2018

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PM convenes maiden session of EAC tomorrow

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has convened maiden session of high profile Economic Advisory Council (EAC) tomorrow (Thursday) at PM Office for seeking policy advice on severe macroeconomic challenges confronted by Pakistan’s economy, The News has learnt.

According to official circular, the first EAC meeting was scheduled to be held at PM office on September 6, 2018 at 4: pm and invitations have been extended to all 18 members of the EAC fold. “Although, agenda of the meeting has not yet been circulated among the participants but it is expected that the burning macroeconomic challenges will come under discussions in the maiden session of the EAC,” official sources confirmed to The News here on Tuesday.

Ironically, different governments had constituted such EACs since 2002 but none of them had ever produced any policy formulation research paper in last 16 years so how it would be different from the past had yet to see in coming weeks and months. There is opportunity available to EAC members that they could set the higher standards by making it relevant forum that advises the incumbent regime on real serious economic issues. In the past it was just considered as debating club and most of the members had used it as tool to enhance their influence within Ministry of Finance, Commerce and FBR.

Many members of this EAC are continuously part of it since 2008 and could not present a single report of recommendations in the previous two governments. If past is any guide this will be ceremonial only, said the sources. There are five members of this newly established EAC who are affiliated with IGC (International Growth Center) funded by UK’s DFID. They are consultants and now they will become more influential for getting studies offered by international donors.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had constituted an 18-member Economic Advisory Council (EAC) last week. There are 11 private sector members and 7 official members. The secretary of Finance Division will be secretary EAC and 11 members included into EAC are renowned economists, researchers, academicians and others. Some of them belonged to foreign reputed institutes of the world, mainly from US and UK.

Imran has included mostly renowned professionals into the fold of the EAC like Dr Farrukh Iqbal, Dean and Director Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Dr Ashfaque Hassan Khan, Principal and Dean School of Social Sciences and Humanities (NUST), Dr Ijaz Nabi, Professor of Economics Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Dr Asad Zaman, Vice Chancellor of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), Dr Nawid Hamid, Professor of Economics at Lahore School of Economics (LSE), Syed Salim Raza, former governor SBP, Atif Mian, Princeton University (Department of Economics and Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy), Dr Asim Ijaz Khawaja, Sumitomo-FASID Professor of International Finance and Development at Harvard Kennedy School, and Dr Imran Rasul, Professor of Economics Department of Economics University College London.

The EAC shall meet at least once a month and its mandate will be to advise the government on both short-term macroeconomic stabilisation interventions and long-term structural reforms for stable and sustained economic development.

The EAC is expected to play a pivotal role in strengthening the capacity of the government to design and introduce sound and effective policies for rapid and continued social and economic advancement, human resource development, improvement of business processes and strengthening of data services.

The council will also facilitate capacity building of the government in conducting policy analysis and will assist in reaching out to the international network of recognised economists to contribute to Pakistan’s development.

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