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Investing in Pakistan

145 1 100
25.11.2018

NOW that the financial emergency is over (with Saudi and Chinese financial support), and hopefully an IMF programme will be in place soon, the government must turn to adopting the trade, industry and investment policies required to accelerate growth, generate jobs, restrain imports and expand exports on a sustained basis.

As an initial step, the sectors and products which have the greatest potential for export growth should be identified and promoted.

Textiles is Pakistan’s prime export sector. It has been stagnant for several years due to low investment in modern machinery, energy shortages, an artificially strong rupee and inadequate efforts to integrate into global supply and retail networks. Both the government and industry appear ready to redress these deficits.

Sectors and products with the greatest potential for export growth should be identified and promoted.

Agriculture also has bright prospects. Pakistan is food self-sufficient. Yet, its agricultural yields are comparatively low. A considerable agricultural surplus can be generated through the application of new technologies and techniques; improved seeds, planting and harvesting methods; efficient irrigation and fertiliser use; better storage facilities, access to markets, packaging and branding.

Pakistan’s manufacturing sector is minuscule — one fourth the size of the services sector. But, with its high propensity for consumption, Pakistan imports all kinds of manufactured goods. Low industrialisation is a consequence of the folly of past unthinking trade liberalisation. No one will manufacture an item in Pakistan if it can be more cheaply imported into the country. Pakistan can industrialise only if the government acts decisively to protect and promote its infant industries until they are in a position to........

© Dawn