LAHORE -  Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal has observed that planning process in Pakistan has been a superficial, rather theoretical exercise in past, as the ground realities and real stakeholders were either ignored or taken for granted, resulting in a fiasco.

Stressing the need for well-formulated, effectively implemented and vigorously monitored plan for economic revival, Ahsan Iqbal told The Nation that ill-conceived policies were the major cause which owed us present precarious situation in every sector of economy.  He said the path to economic revival is not impossible if we set our priorities right even at this point in our history.  “We should capitalize on private sector investment, tax reforms, export-led growth, and effective institutional reforms to put the country in right direction, which would lead to our prosperous and self-reliant future. Planning Commission, the country’s supreme think tank responsible for economic planning, has geared itself up to steer the country out of quagmire of crises through sound, sustainable and viable planning for all sectors of economy. It is making hectic efforts to prepare long term (Pakistan Vision 2025) and medium term (11th Five Year Plan 2013-18) like planning documents for the country to meet this end.” Ahsan Iqbal maintained that Planning Commission adheres to collaborative planning for ensuring effective participation of the real stakeholders in each sector of economy. This is a leap forward in our national planning history.

“We can aspire now to achieve our growth targets, set after thorough consultation of parliamentarians, private sector, academia, professionals and all those who matter. To lend practical evidence to this belief, a national consultative conference of 1000+ stakeholders was held on 22nd November 2013 in the Convention Centre, Islamabad under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.”  He informed that people from all walks of life from arts, culture and media to education, energy and infrastructure were invited to attend this consultative conference to solicit their suggestions for Pakistan Vision 2025 and 11th Five Year Plan 2013-18.

More than 2000 distinguished participants gathered together to make this consultative process truly representative and meaningful, he added.  The federal minister said that the inaugural address of the prime minister was followed brainstorming sessions in groups, formed under seven major thematic areas of Vision 2025.

These areas included Integrated Energy; Self Reliance, Inclusive and Sustainable Growth; Human and Social Capital; Value-addition and Competitiveness in Productive Sectors; Modernization of Infrastructure and Regional Connectivity; SMEs and Private Sector Led Growth; and Security, Institutional Reforms and Democratic Governance. 

At the end of the conference, seven theme leaders submitted outcome of the consultation in their respective groups.  Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms made all out efforts to make this event more meaningful and productive in achieving the desired objectives.