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Pakistan’s economy: miles to go

A constant outcry by economists and financial experts about the falling exports, industrial stagnation and growing loans has gone unheard by the men in authority in Islamabad who are programmed to watch and listen to the news of their choices. The exports are falling as the country has failed to produce industrial surplus. The industry is facing the challenges of electricity shortage, rising tax tariffs and rising cost of production. Most of the industry still relies on the old methods and old machinery. No research and development section has been established in any large-scale industrial concern and the concept of diversification of products is also missing in this sector. The Pakistani products are facing tough competition in the international market, but the officials concerned are sleeping in their chambers, big industrialists have lost their interest in the business and small entrepreneurs are struggling to make both ends meet. The business chemistry has been changed all over the world, but we are stubbornly stuck to the old methods and are reluctant to face new realities. The result is that the country is facing rising debts, falling exports and closure of industrial units.

The current situation requires the government to revisit its policies and should adopt a new strategy from development to implementation levels. There is a need to devise policies to stimulate industrial growth and produce industrial surplus for economic survival of the country. The financial stability of which the government is proud of should come through business activities and not through the foreign loans. The current blind policies are pushing the country towards de-industrialization. A main point which the economists miss to point out is the responsibilities of the provinces in the industrial development. The provinces are almost independent in their policies, but they still look towards federation for economic policies.

Despite having all the financial resources in their hands, the provincial leaders have failed to show their administrative skills to change the lot of their people. Apart from business related issues, surplus funds are available with provinces to launch health and education projects, but many a time funds lapse unused. Economy is not only the federal subject, but also provincial matter as administration and resources are in hands of the provinces to make best use of them.

The steps taken by the government so far are good in papers, but bad on the ground. If financial stability is desirable, the government will have to introduce industrial policy at the earliest. The time is short and the government has miles to go to achieve its targets.

2017-01-10
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