The national and world media is buzzed with news reports that Pakistan is expected to become 25th largest economy of the world, but the question is how much the nation is prepared to hold this position in next eight years. In the current scenario, China is appearing as the largest business and trade partner of Pakistan and is investing billions of rupees in infrastructural development projects across the country. China as the second largest economy of the world and is fast moving toward heavy industry from low and medium size industrial sector. Bangladesh is another aspirant of the Chinese investment and both countries have recently signed $22 billion worth of deals to shift small industrial units to Bangladesh. The Chinese government has reportedly extended Pakistan a similar investment offer and shifting of industrial units, but the policymakers in Islamabad are probably entangled in ifs and buts as usual. Another stumbling block is the lack of coordination between the federal and provincial governments. The time is running out and unpreparedness could have long term effects on the national economy as many other countries are ready to accept Chinese investment.
According to newspaper reports, the Sindh government has refused to allocate funds for special incentive package to relocate dying industries from China to Pakistan. The federal cabinet had approved a special incentive package to relocate industries in nine special export processing zones which are to be set up under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Now the Sindh Board of Investment has asked the federal government to review the incentive package. It is feared the Sindh government’s reluctance to allocate money could stop meaningful progress on the nine sites identified for the zones. This shows how much lethargy prevails in the official circles who are not willing to work for the cause of the nation.
In 1952, a leading British publishing house had offered Pakistan to get the rights to publish technical books for Asian countries. However, due to ifs and buts, the rights were given to Japan which emerged as the economic power in later years. Regarding the Chinese units, some objections are also being raised from the private sector, but fact of the matter is that Pakistan needs new technology and industrial base. In 80s, Japan made similar arrangements with Malaysia and it became Asian tiger within years. It is now up to the policymakers to decide whether they are willing to avail the opportunity or miss it.