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Imran ropes in renowned foreign experts to streamline economy

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has employed services of some renowned foreign economists in the newly-constituted economic advisory panel to seek professional advices on streamlining economy of the country.

According to Khaleej Times report, Pakistan’s current account deficit stands at $ 18 billion, while its foreign currency reserves are just over $ 10 billion, enough to cover two months of imports, and Khan needed immediate overhauling of country’s economic tyre.

The premier has changed the hierarchy set-up of the new 18-member Economic Advisory Council (EAC) Unlike past practices, the council will now be headed by the prime minister himself to ensure that the best possible professional advice is available to his government to inform, optimise and synergise the formulation and implementation of its economic and financial policies.

Out of the EAC’s 18 members, seven belong to government and 11 are from the private sector.

From the private sector, three leading international academics made EAC members are Atif R Mian of Princeton University (Department of Member Economics) and Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy), Asim ljaz Khawaja, Sumitomo-FASID Professor of Member International Finance and Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, and lmran Rasul, Professor of Economics, Department of Member Economics, University College, London.

In the past, EACs were headed by finance ministers with no definite agenda for regular meetings. It was observed that EAC met even once in four months and its advice was not considered seriously. Consequently, EACs have become mere debating forums, the report said.

According to the terms of reference, the ministry of finance will be the nodal government agency for the EAC, which will function in an entirely non-partisan manner and is expected to strengthen existing state institutions in a collaborative and concerted manner.

The report says the government is to arrange finances to fill about a $ 10 billion gap that is arising due to higher outflows than estimated inflows.

Pakistan’s current account deficit stands at $ 18 billion, while its foreign currency reserves are just over $ 10 billion, enough to cover two months of imports, according to figures released before the cricketer-turned-politician was sworn-in as prime minister.

One of the first tests facing Khan-led PTI government is whether to seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund or to turn to China with a plea for more economic aid.

The first meeting of the council will be convened soon, the report says.

 

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