OUR STAFF REPORTER KARACHI - Health experts at a seminar have talked on 'Framework for Economic Growth Pakistan recently launched by Planning Commission of Pakistan evolved a consensus that economic growth is one of the major factors in boosting the economy of a country and no progress can be made without increasing the long-run growth rate, therefore, a new approach is required to improve the economy. The dialogue initiated to develop the implementation framework by the Planning Commission of Pakistan was jointly organised by Governance Institute Network International (GINI) and Karachi University (KU) with the support of Department for International Development (DFID) here on Tuesday on the KU campus. KU Vice Chancellor Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui presided over the inaugural session while Provincial education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq was the chief guest on the occasion. A large number of students, academia, media, entrepreneurs, government officials and other stakeholders participated in the discussion in the second session. Prominent among those were Advisor to GINI Daniyal Aziz, former chairman of National Reconstruction Bureau Gen Tanver Naqvi, Member of Planning Commission Shahid Sattar and Chairperson for Department of Economics Dr Nuzhat. In his video address, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Dr Nadeemul Haque said Pakistans growth rate has been very volatile and the long-run growth is continuously declining because we have forgotten economic growth as policy. We believe that economic growth will happen through getting foreign aid and projects but in fact it could not happen and our growth rate went down to 2-3 per cent, he said. Citing the examples of India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as the grown up economies, he said Pakistan is the only country in the region where long-run growth rate is continuously declining. He warned that if the situation continues, it would further deteriorate the economy. He further said our current strategy is based on Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) and we are using public resources to build infrastructure and doing projects and looking for financing projects. In Planning Commission, we have realised that the PSDP cannot alone increase the growth rate and we are loosing Rs 300-400 billion per annum through PSDP. he added. Stressing the need for a change in growth policy, Dr Nadeemul Haque said we require a sustained Grand Domestic Product (GDP) growth that should be 7 per cent because two million children are annually adding to our population. He said besides building infrastructure, high rise and high ways, we should focus on better government, good governance, competitive markets, creative cities and a conducive environment for trade and entrepreneurship. Member Planning Commission Dr Shahid Sattar said all sectors of economy are facing crises especially the power sector. Currently, domestic consumption has doubled than the commercial consumption. He further said that demand of electricity has been increased by 10 per cent due to domestic usage of air-conditions while on the other hand a big part of the country is not paying electricity bills which is a great loss to the economy. Advisor to GINI Daniyal Aziz briefed the audience about the history of political economy of the country from 1971 to date as how the governments and bureaucracy disfigured the face of economy. He said the issue is not the policy-making or making regulations but the issue is their implementation. He added that at least 18 articles of the 1973 Constitution are so far unimplemented. He appreciated the Planning Commission for highlighting the issue of growth. He said bureaucratic set up is main hurdles in the implementation process. Dr Nuzhat said if we want to implement new system and introduce new technology in the country we shall have to change our feudal minds. Earlier speaking on the occasion Education Minister Pir Maharul Haq said growth of economy is a very important issue which is being ignored by our policy makers. Now the issue is how to develop a vibrant youth and community, he added. Stressing the need for a better future generation, he said a country cannot grow economically and socially without providing children a quality education. Unfortunately, education is not our priority and we spend only 1.24 per cent of the budget for education while countries like Malaysia is spending 23 per cent of it budget for this purpose. He said political will and coordinated efforts are required to improve our education system. In his welcome address, Vice Chancellor Pirzada Qasim said the Planning Commissions role is vital to growth of economy as the issue is affecting every body. He said Pakistan cannot survive in isolation thats why deliberation on the issue are need of the hour. He further said as academics we believe that more attention should be given to youth and community relationship programmes.