KARACHI: Government of Pakistan taking, all political parties on board, is attempting to create ownership among people about Millennium Development Goals, said Federal Minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal on Wednesday.
In a meeting with members of Overseas Investors' Chamber of Commerce and Industries (OICCI), he said people at every level need to understand that MDGs are not mere international obligations but a strategy committed by country to improve life quality of masses.
Regretting that Development Agenda in general is missing in the local media's priorities, he said no one can negate the importance of universal access to primary education or measures to address issues related to malnutrition or other extremely pertinent issues linked to public well being.
"We have to improve public understanding about the concept of development itself with due regard to the fact "Vision' does not work lest the common man understands it," said the Minister.
Sharing details of government's Vision 2025, and seeking active involvement of the private sector the Minister reiterated that ownership for development has to be created among all sections of the society.
Mentioning that the concept of development is being addressed at both micro and macro levels, he said social development and economic growth are inter-linked and it is with the very approach that a seven- pronged agenda has been adopted as an integral component of Vision 2025.
"A broader consensus of all stakeholders is being adopted, including those of political parties to institutionalise it and also to turn it into a robust and transparent tool to measure progress," said the Minister.
In this context, he said a conference is being held on Friday with all stakeholders to be actively represented so that they may be a part of efforts for accomplishment of the vision.
About the objectives to be achieved under Vision 2025, he said the foremost is to harness a strong base of local donors and slash dependence on foreign support for development projects.
Minister Ahsan Iqbal, however, in most categorical terms said that he fully appreciated the role of Multi National Companies (MNCs) and international businesses in putting Pakistan to the path of development.
"I would also appreciate more Pakistani businesses turning international and play their role at both national and global levels," he said.
The government, he said is extremely committed to create ownership at every level for it schemes that also include Institutional Reforms Initiative and for which no foreign funding is being sought but Rs one billion has been allocated from the national kitty.
The Minister also referred to rampant "Knowing and Doing Gap," that demanded capacity building of concerned sections including that of civil services and so-forth.
He also referred to Advisory Committee constituted by his ministry to achieve Vision 2025 with active involvement of academia alongwith representatives of FPCCI, OICCI, different traders' bodies, association of industrialists, professional bodies etc.
"We are seeking new collaborations with active involvement of academia as the present day world is based on knowledge," he said.
Ahsan Iqbal said an efficient and absolutely transparent linkage is attempted to be created among academicians, businessmen, professionals and policy makers so as to acquire development in its truest sense.
He said overcoming energy crisis is on the top most priorities of the government for which small, medium and long terms strategies have been developed.
Upgradation of existent infrastructure, value addition of both industrial and agricultural products, with major focus on transformation of low value goods into high value goods is another important component of Vision 2025.
This was said to enhance competitiveness in the international market and improve resource generation opportunities for the country.
Social and human resource development is also part of the Vision 2025 agenda with equal focus to tap and groom internal drivers of growth, said Ahsan Iqbal.
"Most important is yet the fact that we have to go for mental engineering of our people to change their attitude and behaviour," said the Minister for Planning and Development.
The Minister said the laid back attitude and absence of sense of responsibility with little consideration towards value of time were some of the major handicaps the countrymen were generally inflicted with.
On the occasion Secretary General of OICCI M. Abdul Aleem, made an elaborate presentation and recommended top level accountability on business issues : institutionalise a formal monthly or quarterly review of top 10 issues faced by foreign and local businesses.
The Minister responded that a committee has already been instituted by the Prime Minister and each ministry is required to present its report about their performance that will be extensively reviewed so as to improve performance of each and every department.
Suggesting that strategic thinking is needed to benefit from growth in Asia, he said effective governance to improve regulatory framework and security are extremely important.
Aleem also urged the government to fully document the economy and make it mandatory for all sections of the society to file tax returns.
The meeting was attended by OICCI President, Kimihide Ando, its Vice President Asad S Jaffar, Deputy Secretary General, Moin Mohajir, MC Members Saad Amanullah and Faisal Sabzwari.