LAHORE - Former Federal Minister Sartaj Aziz has emphasised the need to focus on the millennium development goals with education being of foremost importance. He called for decentralisation of the management of the educational sector in order to achieve desirable results. For the current energy crisis, Aziz held the problem of circular debt, poor maintenance of old plants and existing plants operating at less than the potential capacity as the major reasons for the crisis. He expressed these views while addressing the sixth Annual Conference on the Management of the Pakistan Economy held at Lahore School of Economics on Thursday. He was chief guest of the event. In his address, he said that above mention situation led to a shortfall in the output of the country in the tune of Rs 210 billion in one year. Aziz also ranked poor governance along with corruption and lack of importance given to merit as the major obstacles to Pakistans sustainable growth. World Bank former Vice President Dr Shahid Javed Burki was of the view that although Pakistan is in a very difficult situation and has hit bottom, it will come up, he hoped. The real question, according to him, is how and at what speed will it come up? He emphasised on the demographic advantage that Pakistan has today with a median age of 18.2 years. This very large young population could become a burden or a remarkable asset. Dr Burki also presented his estimates for what he called the provincial contribution to GDP which stands at 60.5pc for Punjab and 28.2pc for Sindh. In his keynote address, Chief Economist Planning Commission Dr Rashid Amjad stated that on average a growth rate of 5-6 percent was being considered for the 10th 5 years plan for 2010-2015. This was in line with the recommendations of the panel of economists. However, a final decision will be taken when baseline figures for 2009-2010 are available within the MTBF (mid-term budgetary framework) The conference also had a special presentation by Dr Sirimal Abeyratne from The University of Colombo who discussed how Sri Lanka has dealt with the current financial crisis. He presented on how the Sri Lankan Govt was practically preparing almost 4 years in advance for the global financial crisis, not intentionally, but effectively. Former Director World Bank Dr Tariq Hussain held the opinion that when considering growth of Pakistan, the link between energy and environment must not be ignored. Additional Director of State Bank of Pakistan Dr Sayeed Sajid Ali added to the discussion of the energy crisis by highlighting the reasons behind the issue of circular debt and providing possible recommendations to overcome the problem. Associate Professor at the Lahore School of Economics, Dr Theresa presented on residential demand for electricity. She pointed out that appliance ownership has increased dramatically and while this may be positive from a development and utility maximisation standpoint, such increases will only exacerbate the energy crisis currently facing Pakistan. Dean of Department of Economics at the Lahore School of Economics Dr Azam Chaudhry provided a more econometric analysis of the energy crisis. His studies noticed a weak positive relationship between average household electricity prices and real income, implying that household electricity prices rise, while industrial electricity prices do not. The conference was able to generate a healthy discussion on the major issues facing the Pakistan economy today. Eminent economists presented solutions and recommendations to the challenges on the last decade in Pakistan economy management.