Institutional Reform and Policy Coherence Needed For Export Sucess: Secretary Commerce
Institutional reform and policy coherence where all the government agencies work towards achieving common goals and policy objectives, are necessary for export success: this was the message given by Mr. Mohammad Shahzad Arbab, Secretary Ministry of Commerce while addressing the inaugural session of a public private dialogue (PPD) in Islamabad on 29 July 2015. As part of the institutionalization of PPD mechanism for trade policy formulation, the PPD on "Institutional and Policy Reform for Export Success" was organized by PITAD and the International Trade Centre (ITC) under the EU funded TRTA II programme, which was attended by more than eighty stakeholders from public sector, private sector and civil society.
Mr. Arbab underscored that there is a need to analyze and rectify coordination mechanism for synchronization of efforts of ministries, departments, organizations and provincial governments which are directly or indirectly supporting the export sector. He hoped that this will enable them to support and advance the trade promotional efforts instead of duplicating them or working in isolation. Mr. Arbab hailed the process of PPD mechanism which ensures participation and debate among all the stakeholders which is informed by internationally reviewed policy research.
The EU delegation head of Economic Growth Mr. Bazin Benoist also spoke at the occasion. He highlighted the deep rooted friendly relations between Pakistan and the EU and vowed that EU would continue to provide support and assistance to Pakistan for economic development. He briefly elaborated the cooperation that EU delegation has been providing to Pakistan in different areas of Economic Development. He highlighted the EU GSP plus scheme and stressed that Pakistan should develop its productive capacity to fully benefit from the scheme. He showed his satisfaction over the establishment of PPD mechanism which is taking firm roots in Pakistan. He suggested that there is a need to break the compartments and collaborative efforts are undertaken to achieve national development goals. The policy coherence, knowledge creation and implementation coordination are effective tools to address the stagnation of exports and achieving more robust growth and economic development; he added.
Dr. Mohammad Saeed, Senior Advisor Trade Facilitation and Policy for Business ITC Geneva and Mr. Azher Ali Chaudhry Director General PITAD also addressed the audience and shared with them the rationale, objectives and outcomes of the PPD mechanism. Mr. Chaudhry also introduced PITAD which is providing policy inputs and training on trade policy issues since its inception in 1989. He flagged the role of PITAD in TRTA II programme in general and Component 1 which is about trade policy capacity building in particular. Dr. Saeed shared the global experience and technical support that ITC is providing with the participants. He informed that ITC has successfully institutionalized a PPD mechanism in Pakistan where a PPD Steering Committee has been established by Ministry of Commerce to hold public private consultation and provide policy proposals for the trade policy.
The inaugural session was followed by a technical session which was chaired and moderated by Mr. Azhar Ali Chaudhry, Additional Secretary Ministry of Commerce. Two research studies conducted by independent researchers and internationally peer reviewed were presented during the session which covered Institutional reform and policy reforms for export success. Salient features of the studies including issues, challenges and recommendations to overcome them were covered during the presentations. The presentations were followed by comments by leading experts and institutional representatives including Secretary TDAP, CEO PHDEC, DG CCP, Vice President FPCCI, Vice Executive Director SDPI and Advisor ERU, Ministry of Finance. The panel discussants highlighted their views on the research reports, indicated recommendations for improvement and provided insights about the institutional landscape in the country. An open house discussion followed where the stakeholders were allowed to ask questions, provide recommendations or comments and raise issues hindering institutional and policy coherence etc. The participants were also requested to complete a policy reform proposal form so that they have an opportunity to provide their feedback, recommendations or highlight issues in writing.
The research reports containing roadmap recommendation for institutional and policy reform will be refined and finalized in light of the discussions at the PPD and the received policy reform before their dissemination.