ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood on Thursday said that he hoped that trade with India will resume soon.

Addressing the National Security Dialogue in Islamabad, the PM’s aide said that the recent economic engagements with Afghanistan and the Central Asian Republic were a step towards regional stability via trade. Dawood said that economic backwardness creates political instability and increases security threats for the country, whereas a strong economy strengthens national security.

During the address, Dawood laid out his vision for economic security. He said that economic security consists of inter-connected pillars which are industrial security, energy security, food security, connectivity, financial security, and economic diplomacy.

He informed the audience that in order to support the creation of an industrial base, the Ministry of Commerce is implementing a ‘Made-in-Pakistan’ policy for rationalising the tariff structure to pursue import substitution. The ministry is using tariffs as a tool to stimulate industrial and economic activity instead of the revenue-based approach of the past.

“Import substitution leads to the creation of a critical mass and this leads to exports. A particular point that is missing in our context is the concept of very large corporate groups. One can see enhanced economic security created in Korea, Malaysia,” he added.

He urged the forum to come up with an Economic Security Index and a Forecasting Model incorporating important parameters of economic security. He said that this would help realign the relationship between various elements of economic security and lay the foundation for a strong economy with robust technology-driven industrial infrastructure.

The former governor of the State Bank, Dr Shamshad Akhtar, in an interactive session on the occasion said that rising debt has become an issue for Pakistan. She said that country’s debt has now reached 98 per cent of GDP and if the public debt will be added then it is 107 percent of GDP.

Former Board of Investment chairman Haroon Sharif said that economic diplomacy should be an integral part of the foreign policy. He said being an agriculture-based economy Pakistan should ensure food security on a priority basis.

The Islamabad Security Dialogue is a two-day conference organised by the National Security Division. It aims to define the country’s new strategic direction in line with the prime minister’s vision of peace, regional connectivity and development partnerships with the world.


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