LAHORE - The speakers, on the second day of the tenth Annual Conference on Management of the Pakistan Economy held at Lahore School of Economics, argued that a coherent industrial policy is required to overcome slow productivity that hurts Pakistan’s competitiveness, urging the authorities to involve private sector in formulation of industrial policy.

The conference was opened up with a session on Pakistan’s Competitiveness and Dr. Irfan Ul Haque (Special Advisor at South Centre, Geneva) illustrated that an improvement in Pakistan’s export performance is crucial to raise economic growth. He concluded that Pakistan’s very slow productivity growth was the single most important factor that hurt competitiveness.

Matthew McCartney (Director of South Asian Studies and Associate Professor in the Political Economy and Human Development of India at the University of Oxford) emphasized that there does exist space for industrial policy to promote technological upgrading even under contemporary WTO rules and globalization, but that the requirements are still very demanding of state capacity.

Dr. Syed Turab Hussain (Associate Professor and Acting Chair of the Economics Department at the Lahore University of Management Sciences) explored the barriers to growth faced by small and medium enterprise in Pakistan.

The second session of the day focused on Pakistan’s export performance. Dr. Theresa Chaudhry suggested that evidence has been found which supports the proposition that exporters exhibit significantly higher total factor productivity and are larger in terms of employment than non-exporters.

Dr.Azam Chaudhry gave analysis of the set of Asian countries that have successfully increased exports. He highlighted that countries that have increased exports have focused on increasing exports in those sectors where they already have expertise and at the same time slowly developing new export sectors.

The third session focuses on building Pakistan’s technological capabilities. Dr.Khalil Hamdani presented the case for a vigorous policy thrust to support investment led growth.

Nabil Hashmi (Chairman of Thermosole Industries) then took the stage and gave an overview of the Pakistan Auto Industry, elaborated suggestions for Pakistan National Auto Policy, technology sub contracting opportunities and the industries prospective to trade with India.

Salman Ehsan completed the session by giving a descriptive overview of the quality and compliance of Pakistan’s top export categories.

The last session for the conference introduced the diversification of markets and exports in Pakistan. Dr. Naved Hamid stressed upon the reasons for the garments industry not living up to its potential. Naheed Memom, CEO of Manzil Pakistan highlighted that Pakistan and India have not yet normalized trade relations despite sharing a common border for more than six decades.