Pakistanâ€™s infrastructure gap ranges between $116 and $165 billion, according to World Bank estimates. This implies that 8-10 percent per annum spending on infrastructure is required for 5-7 years to move up the ladder on economic development. By contrast, the consolidated PSDP averaged at 3.4 percent of GDP in the last four years whilst the outstanding loans by banks and DFIs on infrastructure are 1.3 percent of GDP.
Wait, no one likes us anymore? Earlier this week, India took steps towards its quest to reach Central Asian markets. With Afghanistan and Iran in tow, our eastern neighbour announced investments in a number of infrastructure projects under the â€œTrilateral Transit Agreementâ€ at Chabahar. Unlike India, Pakistan actually shares border with Afghanistan and Iran. But it was nowhere to be found at the party.
Urea off-take did not pick up in April either. The Jan-Apr urea off-take this year stands at a 14-year low - that for April alone is down to a seven-year low. High input prices, struggling farm economy, late rains and all that â€“ things are not very rosy. The preliminary crop output numbers assert the notion that farmers are in real distress â€“ not very often you see them protesting on streets.
It would be remiss to not recognize the recent relief to the ailing textile industry of Pakistan â€“ as of March 2016, textile mills have been getting RLNG and their energy needs are being fulfilled. There was also a recent drop in the electricity tariff to Rs12.5, a source in APTMA Punjab told BR Research. Despite these measures, the recent export numbers for April 2016 do not paint a very optimistic picture. Whatever little improvement is observed is at the value-added end â€“ and that too, on a volumetric basis.
Covering over 45 percent of the countryâ??s import bill, one cannot overlook the significance of remittances to the external account. While celebrating the remittances galore, one can also not help but notice the declining trend in share of inflows from overseas Pakistanis in the United States of America.
Congratulations! Now we exactly know how to bring about innovation in this country, and increase productivity: set up technology parks and incubation centres, improve academia-industry linkages, and attract venture capital, among a host of other factors. These were the key productivity-innovation messages handed out at the â??First National SME Conference: contribution challenges and prospects of SME sector in Pakistanâ? organized by SMEDA and the University of Management and Technology yesterday.
The oft repeated phrase used to describe the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector of Pakistan is â€œthe engine of growth for the countryâ€. The fuel required to give this engine traction then would clearly be capacity building of these SMEs. SMEs represent approximately a whopping 90 percent of all enterprises in Pakistan with a massive contribution of 40 percent to the GDP. Another statistic puts 80 percent of the non-agricultural labour force as being employed by the informal sector.