ISLAMABAD  -  Prime Minister Imran Khan has constituted Economic Advisory Council (EAC), which included economists working abroad as well as top heads of the economic ministries and departments.

“To ensure that the best possible professional advice is available to the Government to inform, optimise and synergise the formulation and implementation of its economic and financial policies, the Prime Minister constituted a high-level Economic Advisory Council comprising some of the most erudite and well-respected experts, academics and practitioners of the field who are currently serving in, or have rich experience with, amongst the most advanced academic institutions and other specialised organisations in Pakistan and abroad. The council shall be chaired by the prime minister himself”, according to press statement issued by Ministry of Finance.

The EAC is an informal forum not required under the Constitution and is normally reconstituted every time a new finance minister takes over.

The council is mixture of some old and new faces. The PTI led government has constituted 18 members EAC included seven members from the government’s side and eleven members from private sector.

Among eleven private members, three economists working abroad are also part of the newly constituted council.

According to the notification issued here, the official members of EAC include Asad Umar Minister for Finance Revenue and Economic Affairs, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar Minister for Planning Development and Reforms Division, Tariq Bajwa Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission (when appointed), Abdul Razak Dawood Adviser on Commerce and Textile and Dr Ishrat Hussain Adviser on Institutional Reforms and Secretary Finance.

Meanwhile, from the private sector, the government has included Dr Farrukh Iqbal, Dean & Director, Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Dr Ashfaque Hassan Khan, Principal and Dean School of Social Sciences & Humanities, National University of Sciences and Technology (Nust), Dr Ijaz Nabi, Professor of Economics, Lahore University of Management Sciences (Lums), Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and Dr Asad Zaman, Vice Chancellor, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDC).

Dr Naved Hamid, Professor of Economics at Lahore School of Economics (LSE), Syed Salim Raza, former governor of State Bank of Pakistan and Sakib Sherani an economist are also part of the EAC.

The EAC has also included three Pakistanis who are working abroad like Dr Atif R Mian, Princeton University (Department of Economics and Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy), Dr Asim Ijaz Khawaja, Sumitumo-FASID Professor of International Finance and Development at Harvard Kennedy School have been elected as members EAC from the private sector and Dr Imran Rasul, Professor of Economics at University College London.

The previous governments had not given much importance to the inputs of then EAC.

“The PTI led government should call the meetings of EAC regularly and seriously implemented the recommendations of the council members,” said a member of EAC wishing not to be named.

He further said that secretary finance in past had used to present official figures once or twice a fiscal year that have no impact in policy formulation.

The Economic Advisory Council 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 council 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.

The Ministry of Finance will be the nodal government agency for the Economic Advisory Council, which will function in an entirely non-partisan manner and is expected to strengthen existing state institutions in a collaborative and concerted manner.

The ultimate goal of the council is to promote analytically sound and evidence-based reforms and initiatives for the progress and development of Pakistan.