Pakistan economy in doldrums

February 28, 2013 | By More

Pakistan is situated at a strategic location in South Asia and is endowed with plenty of potential and resources.  It has huge human wealth as about 60 percent of the total population is below the age of 25 years that can be converted into a useful and productive resource by imparting quality education and providing them the opportunities to come forward to play their role in the economic development of the country.

It has been a big dilemma that despite having enormous potential, Pakistan after its existence of more than 60 years, is facing serious economic challenges. The dictatorship and democratic governments could not evolve a compressive strategy for the economic development of the country and to give relief to the common man. The energy shortage has put very serious impact on the industrial productivity and in increasing unemployment in the country.

Pakistans-EconomyThe foreign investment is drying up with every passing year and also local investors are looking to other destinations for survival. The textile exports have declined by 52 percent, which was around 65 percent of total exports a few years back.

The GDP has been hovering around 2 to 3 percent in the last few years that presents a dismal picture of the economic outlook of Pakistan. The high inflation and constantly increasing prices of electricity, gas, petrol and daily used consumable items have badly impacted the lives of common people and it has become extremely difficult for them to survive in this tough situation.

Street crime rate is going high and especially youth feels greatly frustrated because of shrinking job opportunities in the market. The education and health sectors are unable to deliver reasonably good services to the people, due to low allocation of funds in the budget.

The corruption has also eaten the economy and increasing foreign and circular debts provide opportunities to the lenders to dictate their terms to our governments while formulating national policies. The terrorism has sent a very wrong message to the external world about Pakistan’s soft image and on top of it media is unable to play its role in portraying good image of the country.

The problems are many and are compounding day by day but apparently no serious attempt has been made by any Government to find the solution and to give relief to masses. There have been serious governance and mismanagement issues. Every year a large amount of water goes into the sea, without any purposeful use.

Small and medium size dams could be built to generate hydroelectricity but due to political issues and poor planning, not a single unit of electricity could be generated from available source of water in the last 8-10 years.  Other options to produce electricity from the alternate sources could have been explored and put in place in a timely manner to bridge the gap between the supply and demand.

The democratic government is completing 5 years term and gave the message to the external world that democracy is flourishing in Pakistan. The question arises that what is the benefit of the democracy to the people of Pakistan, because they are suffering the most.  In the next general election, same parties are expected to rule the country, and what can we expect from them.

There is a great need of good governance, honesty and support of a National Think Tank in developing a National Economic Strategy and to ensure timely implementation on the action plan to bring Pakistan out of the economic turmoil.

The Government should focus to rely and utilize the available resources to generate revenue and do efforts to turn the loss making public organizations into profitable one, instead of borrowing more money from the World Bank and IMF to run the country.

The private sector, which is bravely performing in challenging circumstances, should be given confidence and weightage to their recommendations while formulating various policies. Public private partnership should be encouraged to bring efficiency in the system.

Pakistan is already lagging much behind in the comity of nations and there is an urgent need to take corrective measures, otherwise, despite being well placed strategically, Pakistan even would have to fight for its survival.

Article by:  Majid Shabbir
Secretary General, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Moderator: Business Support Organization Forum (BSO Forum)

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Category: Trade & Economy

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