Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2015
A robust national statistical system is pivotal for development, equitable growth and planning as it facilitates evidence-based policies and, judicious and timely decision-making to achieve goals set by the country.
The system comprises official bodies that gather information and statistics through surveys and censuses on diverse aspects such as the economy and labour, demography and sociology, trade and business, politics and culture, housing, health and education, etc.
Previously a beneficiary of the tariff cuts under the Generalised System of Preference, Pakistan is one of the 10 countries which have been granted the Generalised System of Preference Plus (GSP-Plus) status by the European Union from January 2014. The GSP-Plus allows developing countries tariff-free export of their products to European markets. Under this special incentive trade arrangement, presumably for ‘sustainable development and good governance’, Pakistan fulfils the criteria for vulnerability. As defined by the EU, vulnerable (in terms of trade) are the countries which lack diversification and insufficient integration within the international trading system.
The GSP-Plus is conditional to ratification of, and compliance to, 27 international standards and covenants on labour, human and women’s rights, environment, narcotics and corruption. These 27 standards comprise eight ILO core labour conventions, six UN conventions/covenants on human rights, and gender and racial discrimination, nine UN conventions/protocols on environment and four UN conventions on narcotics and corruption.