ISLAMABAD - A paradigm shift is needed to address the economic challenges being faced by the country. Real sectors of the economy - manufacturing and agriculture - should be prioritized for sustainable development and growth must translate into poverty reduction. But the measures announced in the Budget do not seem to take the country in the desired direction. These views were expressed by speakers in a seminar "Agenda for the new government: The economic challenges" held here at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Islamabad. The speakers, including leading economists, said that while the government had little time (for budget formulation), peoples' expectations were not met. The budgetary measures are too optimistic and would be very hard to realise. Shahid Kardar, former finance minister of Punjab, said that it would be very hard for the government to reduce the subsidies quickly as has been announced in the budget. He said high rate of inflation - 17 per cent in May 2008 alone - should not just be seen as a global phenomenon but it was very much linked with over-expenditure by the government. He was of the view that current account deficit was becoming unsustainable due to unchecked expenditure coupled with burgeoning trade gap, and Pakistan lacked the capacity and means to finance it due to "macro-economic imbalances".  "Even World Bank and Saudi Arabia are not expected to bail Pakistan out under the United States' pressure," he cautioned. The noted economist opined that measures such as 'Benazir Card' announced in the budget were bound to be misused. Many of the eligible people in FATA and Balochistan did not have the NICs and would not be able to avail the benefit [of the card]," he said. He opined that further incentives for already pampered industries such as auto manufacturers are not going to benefit the economy. Kardar pointed out that inequalities among the people as well as different federating units were rising and should be addressed through well thought out measures. He criticised huge defence budget, wastage and corruption in the civil administration and luxurious expenses of the elite.    "The situation of the masses would not improve unless Army and elite are willing to sacrifice," he maintained. He also warned that due to electricity loadedshedding and resultant increase in cost of production "Market share is going to shift from smaller to bigger businessmen". Regarding taxation measures, he suggested, "Instead of fiddling with rates of various taxes, coverage and base should be increased."  Masud Daher, a leading expert of Pakistan economy, citing difficulties in availability of finances, warned, "PSDP can not be financed even with 100 % of the borrowing". Prof. Khurshid Ahmad, Chairman IPS, said that clarity of vision is needed to put the country on the path of sustained economic progress. He was of the view that economic strategy should be growth oriented but distributive justice should also be ensured. The learned scholar and legislator deplored that the development approach taken by the previous government in last 5-6 years was not responsive to the real needs of the country and its masses in particular. He said that besides population, backwardness and area, cost of service delivery was also very important regarding the distribution of resources among the provinces under National Finance Commission. Professor Dr. Syed Nawab Haider Naqvi, HEC distinguished Professor of Economics in his remarks as chairperson said that our economic problems remain the same as they were in 1950s while certain countries that became independent after us have gone much ahead of us. "We have grown but for shorter periods", he pointed out. "The linkage between growth and poverty is important," he added. Khalid Rahman, Director General IPS said that while many governments have come and gone, the goal of progress and sustainability is yet to be reached.