Dr Kamal Monnoo No one is asking or expecting things to change in a snap, but only that our economic managers act as a team, agree on a basic formula that in turn yields a decision making process cum policy choices, which will indeed (even if gradually) steer the countrys economy in the right direction. The resignation of the Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan though and the perception on his frustration over a prevailing disconnect within the decision makers circle does not augur well for such a possibility. No management rocket science is required here, only that they need to decide amongst themselves on what constitutes their common objectives, then set clear timelines to implement them and most importantly show the resolve that they are willing to back each other against any disruptive political interference (if it happens) and can collectively go to any extent to ensure that their recipes are strictly respected. What we can primarily learn from the examples of Greece, Portugal, Spain and other such ailing economies within the Eurozone, is that it is not the mere borrowing that is in effect bad, but the ills arise, a) if the borrowings are not spent in the right areas; and b) given the relative ease associated with sovereign debt funds, if the governments overtime allow a certain element of financial indiscipline to creep into their fiscal spending. Part of what the Greeks are currently moaning about is that how in reality the Germans are to be blamed for their ills since it was they who were too liberal with their funds when it suited them to play up the smaller economies of Europe in order to artificially shore up their own - Easy come, easy go While they may have an argument for putting up such a defence, but really the ultimate responsibility of landing their economy into trouble truly lies with their own follies, mismanagement and corrupt practices. Ironically, Pakistans imprudence with fund inflows through windfalls owing to post-9/11 events, loans from international financial institutions and its own internal borrowing binge does not tell a much different story either. About time, we also set our own economic house in order instead of always blaming our misfortunes on the US or the IMF or catering to some conspiracy theories pitting the world against us. Time and again, I have reiterated that markets are not perfect and that is why they need to be regulated and controlled - In short, 'Governed. Now this does not imply that we over-regulate or choke them, but simply that a fair environment is created that insures that 'jungle law (which breeds oligarchs and predators) does not become the norm. Around the globe we see laws and tools such as the antitrust mechanism, prevention of monopolies, enforcement of operating standards, regulation of ethical practices, etc., used extensively to essentially carve out a good end in this regard. Pakistan has been found wanting in this regard and unless we address this weakness the serious and long-haul investors will just not have the confidence to work in our market. to come from the economic team. To set right the national priorities, because vision is all about having an eye on the future and being proactive. Some time soon, they need to figure out a way to work in tandem, sit and develop a consensus on key points like, N Within the total national bank lending, what should be the minimum mandatory portfolio for the private sector and further, in that allocation what should be the intra-private sector mix? N If the fiscal deficit for the year ended (as announced) is indeed 5.30 percent, and provided the government does sincerely feel that it can be reduced further in the days ahead, then the prudent usage of this resultant extra space needs to be pre-decided and made public. N It is all very well to benchmark ambitious tax revenue targets, but at the end of the day if the businesses do not do well, then where will this come from? A doable strategy, which is both at the same time practical and productive, should be evolved by involving the private sector and provincial representatives. In India, the tax revenue growth is primarily coming from the States and their share in the tax to GDP has already exceeded 6 percent. N Given that the state-run enterprises are a heavy drain then what precise remedies will be adopted and when? To demonstrate seriousness, a cut-off date to stop further deficit financing should be announced by the State Bank. N A red list of items, sectors, activities, etc., should be released for which the central bank will simply no longer provide or facilitate. N Given the high percentage of young employable individuals in our population, the only salvation is in promoting the SME sector, even if there is a high cost attached to it. Though countless regional examples can be listed where our neighbours are also endeavouring to take employment to the doorstep of the employable, will instead refer to Germany's small and medium sized family owned operations: Even during the critical period of before and especially after the war, where the government itself was a keen and competitive borrower, their portfolio on the German balance sheet never shrunk. Moreover, SME and self-employment initiatives promote a balanced and equitable growth. N Sovereign debt in Pakistan needs to be reassessed. Assuming that all governmental debt is safe can be foolhardy. Actually it is the governments job as a regulator to put it in its right perspective and guide the national financial institutions so that they not only know the real time risks attached to the various kinds of sovereign debts, but also in turn pursue a healthier lending portfolio from a risk and return point of view. After all, it is the public's money they hold and not their own N To demonstrate a visible plan on reducing national debt in the years to come, we also like Britain, Turkey and others, have to openly announce a timetable and define areas from which the government will withdraw by allowing the resultant space to the private sector. N Provincial borrowing needs to be looked at in a totally new light and the provinces need to be told in no uncertain terms that in the days ahead they will have to shore up their own finances. With our foreign policy woes mounting and with the impression that the US may be looking at containment of Pakistan in partnership with India and Afghanistan, and may also use the leverage of economic aid and influence international financial institutions to further pressure Pakistan, the importance of a vibrant home market will be even more crucial in the days ahead - The government in this regard needs to be a catalyst and not a lid It needs to push its winners, instead of dragging them down. Pakistan we must remember can be no different from its neighbours and if the Pakistani entrepreneur is to succeed then he or she needs a level playing field. Vision is about taking risk on entrepreneurship and if you look up the absolute definition of entrepreneurship in the management books, it reads: Innovation combined with risk taking. Unless the government starts promoting risk taking the opportunities will never spring up. The economic managers need to start investing in the people, in their means of livelihood, and in their opportunities of profit-taking, instead of merely using up the available financial resources on solely servicing the government. When it comes to finding economic solutions, history tells us that there are no absolute rights or wrongs, it is just that to what extent one wants to make a difference or alternatively be content with simply being a part of the status quo and keep steering the beaten track - Problem is that in our case the latter no longer seems to be an option The writer is an Entrepreneur and an Economic Analyst. Email: kamalmannoo@hotmail.com.