ISLAMABAD  - Second meeting of the Advisory Committee of Planning Commission was held under the chairmanship of Prof. Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform here in order to fine-tune the draft of Vision 2025 and 11th Five Year plan 2013-18.

Addressing on the occasion, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform said, “Planning Commission’s role is to figure out emerging challenges to the country in various sectors of economy by looking at the horizons, and be able to spot opportunities that can be harnessed in future to make the country grow on a fast trajectory of growth”. He appreciated the valuable input made by the members of Advisory Committee for architecting Vision 2025 and 11th Five Year Plan 2013-18 for the country.

He added, “Collaboration of public sector, private sector and academia holds key to our success. Pakistan needs to grow at over 7pc annual growth rate to achieve the goal of becoming an upper middle-income country by 2025. We have grown historically at 5.5pc, which means business as usual cannot help. We need to reform on continuous basis to grow at over 7pc rate to create jobs for future and present youth. We need out of box solutions, because traditional thinking will only give incremental gains. We need to leap frog”.

The members of the Advisory Committee, hailing from parliament, private sector and academia, highlighted the need to lay greater emphasis on the development of human resource and institutional capacity in Vision 2025, because otherwise all our developmental efforts would hit a snag. It was also highlighted that we should identify specific drivers of growth like the private sector in agriculture, industry and services to help the economy gain momentum. The need to address, in Vision 2025, issues like water scarcity, energy shortage and climate change by building more water reservoirs, tapping alternative energy resources like Shale Gas, and putting in place effective flood control mechanism respectively was also highlighted in the meeting. A member from SDPI made a valuable presentation on huge potential of Shale Gas in meeting the ever-growing needs of energy in the world, and its prospects for Pakistan in the days to come. Pakistan harbors huge reserves of Shale gas in Badin and other marshy areas in its south. We can make Pakistan an energy surplus country in the future by tapping this tremendous resource. The federal Minister, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal constituted a high-level committee headed by Dr. Gulfraz Ahmed, Executive Director IIPCR, Islamabad to start working on Shale Gas development in Pakistan by engaging professionals of petroleum and gas sectors in collaboration with SDPI.

Moreover, it was pointed out at the meeting that in Vision 2025 special care should be given to the cultivation of strong work ethics, quality and productivity values in the people. The members voiced their concerns over the poor monitoring and evaluation mechanism in the public sector, which hampers the effective implementation of even a very well thought-of plan. They, therefore, urged upon the government to devise tangible performance indicators for the public sector and to develop the capacity of public sector in the light of those indicators, because that is the only way forward for our economic development.

It was decided that the Advisory Committee would meet after every two month to brainstorm on emerging development challenges of the country. In next Advisory Committee meeting, members will deliberate on opportunities in Governance and Agriculture related issues.