Tag Archives: Pakistan

Democracy that Delivers Podcast #87: Imtiaz Gul on the Role of Civil Society and the Private Sector in Pakistan

From left: podcast guest Imtiaz Gul, guest host Vivek Shivaram and host Pamela Kelley Lauder

This week’s podcast guest is Imtiaz Gul, founder and executive director of the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), a Pakistan-based think tank.

In the podcast, Gul discusses the role that the business community and civil society can play in reducing extremism in South Asia. If disenfranchised people gain access to more job opportunities, they have less incentive to join extremist groups, he explains.

Because Pakistan’s ruling elites are preoccupied with maintaining power and status, they often settle for short-term economic solutions and exclude civil society and the private sector from economic decisions. This leads to stunted economic and political growth for the country.

CRSS has partnered with CIPE to create an open dialogue between the Pakistani Parliament and civil society and private sector.

Visit crss.pk, for more information about the think tank.

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #81: Vaqar Ahmed on Growth in Pakistan’s Private Sector

From left: podcast guest Vaqar Ahmed and guest hosts Maria Philip and Vivek Shivaram

This week’s guest on CIPE’s Democracy that Delivers podcast is Vaqar Ahmed, Ph.D. Ahmed is deputy executive director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

In this podcast, Ahmed discusses CIPE’s partnership with SDPI, the growth of Pakistan’s economy, and the country’s need for a thriving private sector. After a decade of low gross domestic product (GDP) growth, Pakistan’s economy has begun to improve. The private sector will play a key role in the country’s economic turnaround, and a free, transparent market is necessary for the private sector to flourish.

SDPI’s main aim is to provide a sustainable development community in Pakistan by addressing such issues as climate change, food security and tax reform. With CIPE’s support, SDPI has developed economic programs that have received support from members of the Pakistani parliament.

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #80: Manzoor Ahmad on Economic and Infrastructure Growth in Pakistan

From left: podcast guest Manzoor Ahmad, guest hosts Frank Brown and Jennifer Anderson

This week on CIPE’s Democracy that Delivers podcast, Manzoor Ahmad, Ph.D., discusses economic and infrastructure growth in Pakistan. Ahmad is president of the PRIME Institute and a senior fellow with the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development in Geneva.

CIPE and PRIME collaborated to create the Government Policy Scorecard, which is intended to hold the Pakistani government accountable for economic promises made to its citizens. Ahmad says the project has been a success because it has opened the door for dialogue between the Pakistani government and PRIME Institute.

Ahmad also discusses the positive effects of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which took effect in February 2017 Ahmad credits the TFA with facilitating exports and expediting trade in developing countries, such as Pakistan.

Finally, in regards to infrastructure, Ahmad says Pakistan has benefited since the 2016 implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is intended to strengthen Pakistan’s economy by modernizing its infrastructure.

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #50: Marc Schleifer on Democratic Trends in Europe, Eurasia, and South Asia

Podcast guest Marc Schleifer

CIPE Regional Director for Europe, Eurasia, and South Asia Marc Schleifer works on democracy projects in vastly different parts of the globe. On today’s episode of the Democracy that Delivers podcast he discusses the trends that are affecting the health and development of democracy in his areas of focus, including the attitudes and outlooks of the citizens in each region.

Schleifer describes his early interest in social issues and how his fascination with Russia led to eight years living in the country working in law and international development (and his brief stint as a rock musician). His recollections from this time, including the exciting and chaotic mood in pre-Putin Russia, contrast sharply with his assessment of Russia both today and in the near future. He also talks about the rise in populist sentiment in many parts of the world and challenges us to avoid knee-jerk reactions and look at the political and economic developments behind it.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #42: Kalsoom Lakhani on her Journey from Storytelling to Empowering the Startup Community in Pakistan

Podcast Guest Kalsoom Lakhani

Podcast guest Kalsoom Lakhani

On this week’s Democracy that Delivers podcast, Invest2Innovate (I2I) CEO and Founder Kalsoom Lakhani talks about the trends, opportunities, and challenges that entrepreneurs face in Pakistan and the report that I2I just launched that looks at the environment for start-ups and investors in the country. Lakhani traces her work today back to her childhood in Bangladesh and Pakistan, and to her early interest in conflict resolution that stemmed from hearing about her family’s experiences during the Bangladesh War of 1971. The stories she heard as a child still resonate today as she seeks to increase understanding around the world about what everyday life is really like in countries such as Pakistan that are often best known in the West for violence and instability. Lakhani talks about how her interest in social justice led her to venture philanthropy and to the work she does today helping shape a supportive environment for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses in Pakistan.

Follow Kalsoom on Twitter: @kalsoom82.

Download a free copy of the Invest2Innovate 2016 Pakistan Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Report.

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on your Android device.

Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes to help other listeners find the show.

Democracy that Delivers Podcast #35: Jennifer Anderson on the Economy in Pakistan and Holding the Government Accountable

Podcast guest Jenny Anderson (center) with hosts Julie Johnson and Ken Jaques

Podcast guest Jenny Anderson (center) with hosts Julie Johnson and Ken Jaques

On the Democracy that Delivers podcast this week, CIPE Program Officer for South Asia Jennifer Anderson talks about the economy in Pakistan and holding the government accountable for delivering on its economic promises. Anderson discusses the crucial link between successful implementation of economic reforms and citizen support for the civilian government and democracy. She shares the view expressed by some in Pakistan that “entrepreneurship is dead” and why a number of aspiring Pakistani business people feel this way. Anderson also discusses the new registration process required for international and domestic NGOs to operate in the country. The show closes with Anderson sharing her story of how helping a friend cope with the tragedy of the Rwandan genocide changed her world view and got her started on her international development career.

Follow her on Twitter @JennyLAnderson_

Debate on Taxation in Pakistan: Reforms Move to the Next Level

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Karachi Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Pakistan’s overall tax-to-GDP ratio has been hovering around 10 per cent for the past decade, which is approximately five per cent lower than the average of comparable economies. Despite a large tax base available in all provinces, they collectively contribute only seven per cent in overall revenues.

Federal revenues are low, and government coffers are emptied by debt servicing, high defense spending, and power subsidies, resulting in government institutions without adequate budgets to operate. Without tax reform, Pakistan’s civilian government and its ability to govern remains weak and ineffective. Moreover, Pakistan remains on the brink financial crisis.

Since the passage of a constitutional amendment in 2010 aimed at rolling back the excessive power the central government had built up over years of military rule, the provincial administrations have been entrusted with greater revenue mobilization responsibilities. The amendment was intended to bring education, health, and other basic government services closer to the people and help develop areas that were historically ignored by Islamabad, and was viewed as an important first step in a series of reforms to create a responsive and accountable democratic Pakistan.

However, empowering provinces without the proper mechanisms in place for implementation, and conflict resolution, and without strengthening revenue raising capability at the provincial level, has resulted in greater duplication of bureaucratic structures and processes at central and provincial levels, leading to more wasteful spending and higher budget deficits. Moreover, government services that are now to be provided by the provincial governments are often not provided at all, as provincial governments themselves appear confused or reluctant to take on service delivery and financial responsibilities.

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