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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) has drafted 15-year Make in Pakistan (MIP) plan focused on maximising localisation of Production of Engineering Goods (EGs) through indigenous resources, import substitution to cater to the domestic consumer and industry demand and technology transfer & build technology acquisition houses.

According to draft MIP, due to prevailing prolonged political instability and its adverse impact on economic growth development, a 15-year long term irreversible plan for Make in Pakistan (MIP) policy with the vision to make Pakistan a sustained global manufacturing hub has been proposed.

The core objectives of MIP policy are: (i) maximise localisation of Production of EGs through indigenous resources;(ii) import substitution to cater to the domestic consumer and industry demand; (iii) take solid steps through various measures to ensure “technology transfer & build technology acquisition houses” in collaboration with advanced/ developed countries in a phased yet systematic manner; (iii) enhancing exports of medium to Hi tech products resulting in earning of precious foreign exchange; and (iii) job creation for youth, especially for Technicians, IT Professionals, Computer Scientists, Technologists and Engineers.

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The main focus of MIP policy would be on the following sectors: (i) automobiles and components; (ii) agri-tech and food processing; (iii) energy sector with the focus on renewable energy; (iv) IT and Software; (v) roads and highways;(vi) leather products; (vii) biotechnology and pharmaceutical; (viii) Media, Entertainment; (ix) textiles and finished derivative; (x) chemicals; (xi) domestic appliances; (xii) Artificial Intelligence(AI); (xiii) cutlery and sanitary; (xiv) mining, gemstones and exploration; (xv) construction and machinery; (xvi) oil and gas; (xvii) defence manufacturing; (xviii) defence manufacturing; (xix) sports industry; (xx) medical and healthcare equipment; (xxi) electrical equipment and machinery;(xxii) ports and shipping equipment; (xxiii) electronic components, system and PCB manufacturing; (xxiv) railway industry; (xxv) telecommunication equipment; (xxvi) product and process designing; and (xxvii) waste management and recycling.

PEC will take the role of Facilitator instead of acting as a mere Regulator. PEC will act as statutory body for structuring MIP policy framework, implementation, and periodic review.

In addition, the PEC would propose legal reforms and incentives to promote the manufacturing sector, such as offering tax breaks/ rebate, simplifying regulatory processes, and easing foreign investment restrictions through Act of Parliament for continuity and sustainability of MIP policy for the entire 15 years.

The basis for this policy lies in the Article 156 Clause 2 of the Constitution of Pakistan reproduced as follows: “The National Economic Council shall review the overall economic condition of the country and shall, for advising the federal government and the provincial governments, formulate plans in respect of financial, commercial, social and economic policies; and in formulating such plans it shall, amongst other factors, ensure balanced development and regional equity and shall also be guided by the principals of policy set out in Chapter 2 of Part-II.”

With this background, PEC recommended to revisit the existing situation in manufacturing sector of Pakistan by promoting culture of localization as a workable instrument in the form of import substitution. For that matter, the government needs to create healthy “industrial culture for localization of equipment/products”.

To support this cause Policy Framework for ‘MIP’ has been proposed as a viable, sustainable solution for economic reforms and a first step towards indigenization.

PEC would lead all regulatory bodies dealing with product certifications standards, quality assurance, and implementation of good engineering practices (PNAC, EDB, DRAP, PSQCA and CBTL etc.) need to be established to certify National R&D, perform conformity assessment and issue product, process and services certification including software under PEC in collaboration with all stakeholders.

Industrial Development Bank of Pakistan (IDBL) to be made effectively functional with allocation of funds for financing engineering industry with a view to process development and automation, establishment of local test facilities, supervisory control, technology transfer and transition. Funding may be provided after thorough scrutiny on ROI basis. The promotion/posting and financial benefits of the Trade attaches at Pakistan embassies be linked with the export performance to the country of their posting.

This policy provides a strategic framework aiming to diversify and strengthen Pakistan’s economy by building a robust manufacturing sector. Moreover, the policy is centred around several key pillars that focus on improving the country’s business environment, promoting innovation, and enhancing industrial competitiveness.

In the light of the current economic landscape, characterized by a growing dependency on import-based consumption, Pakistan faces substantial challenges, including strain on Foreign Exchange (FE) reserves, limited technology acquisition, and constrained capacity building opportunities for professionals and the burgeoning young workforce. Furthermore, the increased reliance on global lenders has subjected Pakistan to stringent borrowing conditions, resulting in inflationary pressures and heightened taxation burdens.

Recognising the urgent need to address these challenges and foster economic self-reliance, the Council in alignment with its statutory mandate, constituted a dedicated committee comprising industry experts and stakeholders. After thorough deliberation and consultation, the committee meticulously formulated the “MIP Policy” which aims at promoting import substitution and stimulating enhanced export activities, thereby bolstering domestic production capacities and reducing reliance on foreign imports.

Pakistan’s increased dependency on import-based consumption is adding extensive burden on Foreign Exchange (FE) reserves. Excessive imports are negatively impacting technology acquisition, capacity building of professionals, young workforce, and industry and job creation. Reduced FE enhances dependence on IMF/other global lenders and forces the country to accept their conditions which cause inflation and undue taxes.

Existing 50-year old industrial policies are least flexible to meet challenges of IT era and do not adequately address domestic and global needs of the hour.

Key components of this policy are as follows:

(i) Information sharing with the stakeholders: PEC shall circulate all the relevant information regarding SROs, Indusial Zones. New technologies and latest international business trends etc. to the stakeholders on daily basis.

(ii) Promoting innovation: To remain competitive in today’s global market, it’s essential and imperative to encourage and support process and product innovation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

Comments

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T Mar 01, 2024 07:15am
made in Pakistan, even Pakistanis don't want these items.
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Tariq Qurashi Mar 01, 2024 10:43am
I hope the PEC will actually act as a facilitator and not introduce more red tape and regulations that have to be followed. We have to realize that the bureaucracy are strangling our entrepreneurs.
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Sugon Dzntz Mar 01, 2024 11:25am
PEC takes months for mundane tasks regarding engineers registration. I don't have very high expectations with that precedence.
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Adil Mar 05, 2024 09:16am
I don’t think anything can be done unless deletion program be implemented with letter and spirit
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