Dr Syed Akhter

Dr Syed Akhter

The author is Professor Emeritus of Marketing at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, and a Fulbright scholar. He has published extensively in business and marketing journals and has taught graduate and undergraduate level courses in North America, Europe, South America, and Asia.

What can Pakistan learn from Bangladesh?

Henry Kissinger, the secretary of state during the Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford administrations, ominously dubbed Bangladesh a basket case, and the moniker stuck, causing disappointment and dismay among Bangladeshis. In the 1970s, the derogatory appellation painted a dire picture of a country struggling with negative growth rates, dismal export potentials, empty coffers, and, to top it all off, the burden of meeting the needs of a traumatised population. The future of Bangladesh, at the time, looked very bleak indeed. Five decades later, Bangladesh has come out roaring. It has become one of the leading Asian economies and has, for ...

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Why does the government continue to increase electricity prices?

The price hike for electricity recently announced by the government was neither surprising nor unexpected. However, there are some key questions related to this decision that need to be addressed. Why was this done? What does it mean for ordinary citizens? And, what can we expect in the future? Why another power tariff hike? Let’s begin with why the decision was taken. To increase social welfare and allay price pressure, governments provide subsidies to different segments of the population. Subsidies are designed to help people buy products and services they cannot otherwise afford. With the recent decision to raise the electricity ...

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What does Pakistan’s improved ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking mean?

The World Bank’s latest rankings of 190 countries on the Ease of Doing Business (EDB) is out.  Pakistan did well, considering it moved up 28 rungs on the rankings ladder, from 136th place to 108th.  In this latest round, Pakistan is one of 10 countries (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Togo, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Kuwait, China, India, and Nigeria) that have improved the most across at least three of the 10 factors that go into constructing the EDB rankings. The annual report received wide publicity on its arrival because the rankings matter. They reflect how conducive the regulatory environment is for opening ...

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What can Pakistan learn from this year’s Economics Nobel Prize winners?

Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Michael Kremer of Harvard University won this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics. Congratulations to all three Nobel laureates. In their ground-breaking research, the three transformed the way developmental issues are studied, showing what works and what doesn’t. Their adoption of the experimental approach and particularly the use of random control trials, used mostly by biologists, in developmental economics is considered ground-breaking. Experiments open the door to understanding and knowledge, and rather than assuming what would work or wouldn’t, their approach looked at experimental data to come to a ...

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As Asian economies take centre stage, how can Pakistan cash in?

The economic map of Asia is changing at a fast pace, shaped by trade disputes between the United States (US) and its trading partners, and by commercial developments in Asia, especially in China. The Trump administration is using tariffs, and the threat of higher tariffs, to leverage its bargaining positions and extract trade concessions through negotiations with China.  While policymakers in the US and China are struggling to come up with a joint communique, business executives are going to the drawing board to decide what to do next.  A key decision for these businesses is what to do with ...

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