Monday, November 26, 2012

Civil society urged to contribute to economic growth

The civil society should play its role for economic revival of the country and achievement of economic growth targets while political parties should also develop a consensus on national issues.

These views were expressed by the participants in Jang Economic Session on “Future of Pakistan in Global Scenario” here on Tuesday. The panelists were Muhammad Ali Mian, Prof Shahida Saleem, Dr Tariq Bucha, Dr Yasir Mehmood and Nadeem Bhatti while the session was hosted by Sikindar Hameed Lodhi and Intikhab Tariq.

Muhammad Ali Mian said economic recession was going on across the world while Pakistan economy also was affected by high budget deficit and foreign loans. He said 60 percent of Pakistan SMEs had closed down while economic revival was crucial for safeguarding future.

Shahida Saleem said self-dependent policy and removal of social inequality were crucial to protect economic future of the country.

She suggested not taking loan facilities from international lenders. She said Pakistan growth rate was 9 percent in 1960s which needed to bring back through visionary leadership. She said China, India, Malaysia and Singapore had achieved growth with human resource development by improving their education system.

Tariq Bucha said agriculture was not vital for Pakistan only as globally the current decade was food and fuel decade but Pakistan government had put the agriculture sector on the back burner during the last three years. He said agriculture share in the country’s GDP was 50 percent but it was ignored by the government. He said the government had given MFN status to India rather than providing facilities to agriculture sector. He said a urea fertilizer bag was sold at Rs350 in India while at Rs1,750 in Pakistan. He observed that government might face circular debt in food sector if it continued ignoring agriculture.

Dr Yasir Mehmood said the next three years could be positive for Pakistan economy as labour cost was growing in China which was pushing its cost of production upwards. He said the minimum wage in Pakistan was Rs9,000 while in China it was equal to Rs40,000 to 50,000. He called for using alternate energy generation resources to produce cheap energy and use of labour cost advantage.

Nadeem Bhatti said that Pakistan’s share in global market was reducing quickly due to increase in production cost. He said unavailability of gas and electricity had bankrupted the industry. He said government should take concrete steps to stop energy theft and facilitate the taxpayers.