ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin has blamed previous governments in the last 45 years for de-industrialisation, and stated that the present government is undertaking a wholesale planning for industrialisation to achieve sustainable growth for the next 20 to 25 years.
While addressing as chief guest at an event organised for improving investment in Pakistan – “Investment, Industrialization and Exports – Harmonizing Sectoral efforts for Growth” – in partnership with the Revenue Mobilisation, Investment and Trade Programme (REMIT), the finance minister blamed previous governments during the last 45 years for de-industrialisation and stated that Pakistan in late ‘60s was the fourth largest economy in South Asia because of industrialisation based on solid five years plans and continuity of policies.‘70s wholesale nationalisation led to de-industrialisation and wastage of 45 years in terms of economic development, he stated, adding that consequently, now Pakistan does not appear even in top 20 economies of South Asia.
He said that the present government after dealing with four major challenges – current account deficit, Covid, Afghanistan, and the rise in global prices – has been moving towards growth. He said we are expecting 4.5 to five percent GDP growth in the ongoing fiscal year.
We are taking wholesale planning process for achieving sustainable growth of over seven percent for the next 20-25 years to create employment opportunities for 60 percent population below age of 30 years, which is a demographic dividend of Pakistan.
The finance minister added that there is a need to increase saving-to-GDP ratio and tax collection by bringing the retail sector into the tax net and increasing exports through value-addition, besides focusing on the IT sector. He said that there is potential in the IT sector and tourism to bridge $40 billion gap in imports and exports. Thus, there is a need to expand industrialisation in general and IT and tourism in particular.
Tarin stressed the need to consolidate industrialisation and increase productivity, particularly of major crops to fulfil the nutritional needs of growing population and ensuring agriculture security at a sustainable level.
The minister said the government has also been pursuing bottom up approach to involve five million low-income segment of the society into the economy and in this regard, it has launched various initiatives.
He emphasized on diversification of exportable basket and increasing manufacturing, as well as, agriculture output to take the country out of chronic issue pertaining balance of payment.
Earlier, Ministry of Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar highlighted the successful policy initiatives launched by current government in past three years to promote domestic production, exports and to generate employment in order to stimulate overall growth of economy despite Covid pandemic.
He said that the developments are being seen as a major positive for Pakistan as localisation of auto parts has increased to 45 percent and we are aiming to increase it up to 65 percent in the coming years.
Likewise, local manufacturing of mobiles has resulted in production of 22.12 million phones in Pakistan within the first year of regime introduction.
He also highlighted the salient features of National SME Policy to provide much-needed support to the SMEs countrywide.
He said that early de-industrialisation in Pakistan was because of incoherent economic policies of previous governments, which led towards declined manufacturing base and subsequent detrimental to job creation in the country over the years. He emphasised that with the growing population and 60 percent of the young population base below the age of 30 years, we need to increase the GDP share of manufacturing sector from 14 percent to 25 percent to create employment opportunities for our youth.
Advisor to the PM on Climate Change Amin Aslam underlined the importance of introducing green technology and energy efficiencies in manufacturing sector. Deputy Chairman Planning Commission highlighted the key areas of three years of rolling growth plan focusing on job-intensive growth approach.
Chairman Board of Investment (BoI) Azfar Ahsan laid stress on simplified regulatory regime in Pakistan to foster investment and feasible environment for cross-sectoral businesses in the country.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022