While the nations economic fatigue is now fairly obvious in its inability to respond swiftly and zealously to perhaps the biggest calamity to hit Pakistan, the sad thing is that our economic managers either choose to ignore this or perhaps simply fail to recognize it. At a time when the focus should really be to stimulate or expand economic activity and create jobs what we instead see is a continuous rhetoric on revenue collection. Now please dont get me wrong; we all lament the fact that the tax to GDP ratio in Pakistan is low to the extent of being alarming and there is a need to bring it up to at least the regional average of about 15 percent, but we need to recognize that this requires time and strategy. Any knee-jerk action to extract taxes coercively will not only further tire out the people but also prove to be counterproductive for the much sought after economic recovery. Someone from the economic team needs to remind themselves of the basic economic principle that with increased economic activity enhanced revenues automatically follow. News just trickled in last week that in spite of Greece grossly missing out on its targets to boost revenues by extracting more taxes, the IMF (International Monetary Fund) will still be releasing the second tranche of its total bail-out funding to Greece amounting to $11.80 billion. Reason being that when assessed by the troika (joint teams of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF) the Greek economy seems to be well on its way to recovery. And what exactly has the Greek government done? They embarked on some long due and serious structural reforms to ensure, (a) Overhauling of labor, lay-off and pension laws to help companies focus on output rather than politics; and (b) liberalized laws and funding to try and expand economic activity by restarting all closed shop professions (incidentally also the name of the act under which these measures were carried out). So serious is the Prime Minister (George Papandreou) about pushing these new structural reforms that he has halved the implementation period to one year from the two benchmarked initially. Nearly all countries around the world (rich or poor, developing or developed), which are confronted by the double bang hit of economic slowdown and high unemployment with a rapidly rising population are mainly focusing on job creation and measures to stimulate growth. On a closer view the disparity in efforts, if any, lies only in ways to stimulate respective economies. Cash-rich countries tend to opt for a high percentage of fiscal (cash) stimulus, which like an injection bears quick results, and cash strapped economies naturally opt for policy based stimulus measures that may be slow on results but at least sets them in the right direction - Pakistan in this regard sadly has no direction and the economy continues to shake like a rudderless ship that is bound to breakdown unless someone assumes a timely control In the present global scenario no country can afford to take its economic policies non-seriously. Foreign policy endeavors and bilateral relations these days mainly depend on economic interests and this reality could not have been more visible than in the recent jibes of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, taken at Pakistan when addressing business power houses of India in Bangalore. It was not Cameron talking in Bangalore, but the might of the potential Indian investment in UK making its voice heard through him. In order to command respect and for the world to also listen to our viewpoint we need to first rise economically. Little wonder then that even the economically developed economy like Japan has gone on and officially announced the coming year as the Year of Economic Policies. What it simply means (as explained by its Prime Minister, Naoto Kan) is that the Japanese intend to channel all their energies and attention to ensuring that their next years budget primarily addresses the issues of stimulating economic growth and creating jobs. Kan categorically issued a statement last week after taking into confidence all the political parties of Japan, that, no matter who becomes the prime minister and which party assumes power, economic policies being adopted now to pursue job growth and reduce national debt will remain unaltered and more importantly will continue to occupy the place of the top item for any government. Why cant we have a similar consensus in Pakistan? With Friedmans 'Flat World the economic viruses and their recipes seem to have condensed as well. Most symptoms appear common to different parts of the world and likewise most cures fit all. Interestingly, a private business think tank led by the business magnate and politician Jean Claude presented last month (amongst many others) the following proposals to the Greek Finance Minister: 1) Given the state of the economy the Greek inflation will bear a variance of at least 3-5 percent from its regional neighbours. As long as it does not exceed this, do not unnecessarily tighten the monetary policy. 2) To stimulate investment and business activity the government, where necessary, should consider becoming an investment partner (at least in the short term). Central European success stories of the Czech Republic and Poland also followed this model. 3) Labour laws need to be softened and to be made more production-friendly in order to enhance productivity. 4) Taxation targets need to be revised and spread over five years instead of the present two. 5) Liberalise the process of establishing and running of all types of businesses and abolish the licensing (unless absolutely necessary) requirements of setting up new businesses. 6) Allocate a portion of IMF bail-out package towards establishing new employment generating manufacturing companies. Now even if the word Greece were to be replaced by Pakistan, who can really argue with these proposals kamalmannoo@hotmail.com.