LAHORE - Former finance minister and Vice Chancellor Beaconhouse National University Sartaj Aziz has said that government has given attention to the key sector of agriculture in the budget which was ignored over the last many years and overall it was a good budget. He expressed these views while addressing a joint post budget seminar held under the aegis of GC University Lahore on Monday in collaboration with the Beaconhouse National University Lahore (BNU), Lahore University of Management and Sciences (LUMS) and Lahore School of Economics (LSE). Eminent economist from the four educational institutions participated in the seminar. Sartaj said that lot of problems were inherited by the present government from the former government. He, however, said that government was focusing on shot term macroeconomic issues instead of long terms. Export sector was weak, there was lack of skilled labour. He was of the view that budgets were developed on the basis of policy, priorities and institutions, adding that  water shortage was very important issue. Sustainable growth depends upon many factors, he added saying that issues could be redressed one by one.  Vice Chancellor GC University Professor Dr Khalid Aftab in his opening address explained the emerging economic challenges facing Pakistan and underscored the need to cut the fiscal deficit which has increased to 7 per cent of the GDP during the last fiscal year. He highlighted the significance of such forums in promoting discussion and dialogue on key economic issues and challenges. He said that it was for the first time that the public and private universities joined hands in holding the seminar of national importance and subsequently this will lead to greater cooperation between the institutions. Renowned economist Dr Hafiz A Pasha said that during the last five years the cost of running the government in Pakistan has increased manifold. Over the last three years, if the government has taxed the expanding businesses and sectors of the economy it could have collected Rs 300 billion which constitutes one third of the size of the total revenues. He further said that over the last seven years, a period of so called prosperity, our total outlay on social safety-nets was quite dismal which was 0.1 per cent of the GDP. He said that Pakistan needs a big structural change if it wants to realise the goal of economic prosperity. He appreciated the speakers for highlighting the long term and the short term problems facing the economy. Ali Cheema, Chairman Department of Economics LUMS talked about Pakistan's key macroeconomic developments and structural changes that have taken place over the years. He said that the state of Pakistan has a very weak fiscal compact and there is a lack of dynamism in manufacturing sector which leads to lackluster performance of exports in the economy. Dr Akmal Hussain talked about measures taken to reduce poverty. He said that poverty has emerged as the biggest problem of the country as more than 57 million people are living below the poverty line. He underscored the need for better institutional structures especially for the small and medium sized farmers who have the potential to overcome the challenge of low productivity. Dr Perver Tahir Mahbub Professor of Economics talked about sectoral growth strategies and highlighted the significance of the services sector which has emerged as the biggest contributor to economic growth in recent years. Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha underlined the fiscal priorities to deal with the challenge of burgeoning fiscal deficit in Pakistan. Dr Asad Saeed, Dr Naved Hamid and Professor Asif Saeed also spoke on the occasion.