Economic stability provides Asia Pacific with reform window, says UN

7 Dec 17

Asia-Pacific countries should take advantage of the “prevailing stable economic conditions” to ensure inclusive and sustainable development, the United Nations has said.

The region should also take the opportunity to improve governance and fiscal management through the use of technology as the economic outlook is “broadly stable”, the development wing of the UN in the Asia-Pacific region said in a report 

Shamshad Akhtar, executive secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, said: “Unless economic growth is accompanied by an expansion of decent jobs and strengthening of social safety nets, the region will continue to see a rise in inequality and little progress in eliminating poverty.

“Without concerted efforts, economic growth will continue to come at a significant, and often irreversible, environmental cost,” she said at the unveiling of the Economic and Social Survey for Asia and the Pacific report.

The report also highlighted the need to overcome the financing gap in the region. It said this required enlarging the fiscal space, including through mobilisation of resources, broadening private sector participation and strengthening capital markets.

The report said: “Through the use of technology, governments can improve tax administration and compliance and the implementation of direct benefit transfers while improving public expenditure efficiency.”

Although the economic outlook for 2018 is “stable” for the region, the report warned that private investment remained weak in most countries, largely due to “overcapacity and debt overhang” in the corporate and banking sectors.

To ensure stability and sustained economic growth, governments need higher wages supported by productivity gains and private investment.  

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