ISLAMABAD - Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, said that there is complete harmony between International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme and PML-N promises to the nation made in elections.

“Pakistan should embrace economic freedom fully while sequencing and pacing reforms unleashing its national endowment while taking private enterprise as the centre of growth”, Ahsan Iqbal said while addressing the report launch and seminar on Economic Freedom of the World 2013. Ahsan Iqbal reiterated that there is complete harmony between the IMF programme, nation’s economic priorities and PML-N promises to the nation on which the government enjoys public mandate.

Pakistan stands at 103 out of 152 countries in economic freedom, says Economic Freedom of the World Report 2013, released by Policy Research Institute of Market Economy (PRIME), an independent think tank in Islamabad, in collaboration with the Fraser Institute and Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.

The report was presented by Ali Salman, Executive Director of PRIME, who highlighted key policy messages for Pakistan’s economy.

One of the key findings of the report is that the status of legal system and property rights in Pakistan has shown deterioration over years, which is correlated with Pakistan’s decline in economic freedom. This is associated, the report suggests, with a declining expenditure of government where it matters the most: enforcement of the law.

In fact, Pakistan’s lowest score in the index is on the Legal System and Property- a 4.22 out of 10 points.

The index suggests that Pakistan performance in maintaining sound monetary system has been commendable thus endorsing the monetary policy makers. The data reveals that Pakistan has been pushed back on the economic freedom due to declining credit to the private sector as the government has become the heaviest borrower from the commercial banks.

The Economic Freedom of the World Report suggests that Pakistan has receded on the component of freedom to do international trade. This was also resonated in the report of the recently concluded mission of the International Monetary Fund.

The index published in Economic Freedom of the World measures the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries are supportive of economic freedom. The cornerstones of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete, and security of privately owned property. Forty-two variables are used to construct a summary index and to measure the degree of economic freedom in five broad areas: size of government, legal system and property rights, sound money, freedom to trade internationally, and regulation.