PRIME Institute hailed for Governance Monitor

7th Manifesto Tracking Report

Pakistan's Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has lauded the efforts of PRIME Institute in developing tools to improve transparency in governance, and political performance.

According to PRIME Institute's 7th Tracking Report- Bad Economics is Bad Politics, the government raised its performance in the area of Economic Revival by 46 %, and by 26 % in Energy Security.

At the launch of the report, Minister for Planning Professor Ahsan Iqbal argued that privatization of the energy sector will stall investment in the distributional capacity because privatization is a lengthy procedure taking as long as two years to be completed.

The Minister highlighted that $3 billion had been spent modernizing the grid. He added that the the PML-N manifesto is based on improving the Four E's of Extremism, Energy, Education and Economy. Ahsan Iqbal promised that the government will consider the report and make amends in the areas in which the report has indicated lagging performance.

According to Executive Director PRIME Institute Ali Salman, development has taken place, but economic growth remains sub-par, noting the absence of significant reform.

He added that the government has to take steps to curb the size of government. Ali Salman cautioned that unless micro reform is undertaken, economic revival would not be realized.

Independently elected Senator from Punjab, Mohsin Leghari pointed out that the general public doesn’t vote on economic grounds, instead focussing on individual political agendas. He feared that reform implementation would be impeded by political considerations. Mohsin Leghari appreciated the efforts of PRIME, saying more was needed to monitor governance performance.

Mr Shumail Daud, a former President of the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce, endorsed the Senator's analysis, the lives of tax paying businessmen have become exceedingly complex. Daud agreed that Pakistan’s macro outlook has improved, but stressed on the need for reforms at the micro level.

Research Economist Ali Kemal, who was also on the report review panel criticized the  scores for being too generous. Any improvement, he said, could easily be attributed to external factors such as the reduction in international oil prices. He conceded that some improvements had taken place, but these are of little significance to the general public.

Dr. Khalil Ahmad, Executive Director Alternate Solutions Institute and co-author of the Manifesto Tracking report, advised the government that the implementation of tax reforms could have a significant bearing on the PML-N's reelection. He praised Ahsan Iqbal for showing great maturity in facing a critical report.

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