Thu September 20, 2018
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
Must Read

Opinion

February 14, 2015

Share

Advertisement

Fools and their money

We don’t have to delve beneath the earth to look for what will rid Pakistan of its money woes. It’s not just minerals we are rich in

Chiniot, a sleepy town in central Punjab has gained fame in recent days for being home to mineral deposits of a valuable nature. Underneath the fertile agricultural land lie what are estimated to be thousands of tons of iron and copper deposits. There is even talk of that all important symbol of wealth, gold.
Upon announcing the discovery, the prime minister issued a statement full of hope that soon Pakistan will be self-sufficient in natural resources and ‘break the begging bowl’. All very laudable sentiments no doubt but a little too optimistic considering the situation we find ourselves in.
It wasn’t all that long ago that the natural gas reserves of Pakistan were brought forth as an example of the abundance of resources available to us. But because of the mismanagement, misuse and wastage that went on for years, we have now reached a stage where gas shortage is turning into a full-blown crisis.
For those in Punjab at least, the days of gas heaters are long gone. Ordering in food or having leftovers because of gas loadshedding is in, cooking on gas stoves is out. Amidst all this, one sees crews digging up roadsides to replace rusty pipes that are leaking away what precious little natural gas still runs through them. This crisis has not happened in a day. Gas shortage has been a growing problem for the past several years, yet the speed with which maintenance work is being done is criminally slow.
All this makes one wonder exactly what use Pakistan will manage to make of its newly discovered minerals. We do not have enough educated or dedicated individuals to come up with long term strategies for developing the area in a way that manages to preserve the local environment while making the most out of the deposits underneath. No matter how rich we are in natural resources, the dearth of human resource

and good sense always brings us up short when it comes to getting maximum benefit from them.
Due to our inability to manage our own natural resources, we end up having to hand them off to foreign firms. The lucrative tenders appear very attractive in the short term but come with a whole host of problems in the bargain. Not to mention that it doesn’t exactly spell an end to foreign dependency if instead of taking loans from foreign governments, we strike up deals with foreign businesses.
It has often been said before and it is worth repeating that just having natural resources does not make a country wealthy and independent. There are nations far less well-endowed than us that are doing far better. There are other countries that have resources worth far more and all they have ever got out of these assets is war, poverty and exploitation by greedy businesses.
We don’t have to delve beneath the earth to look for what will rid Pakistan of its money woes. It’s not just minerals we are rich in. One of the largest populations in the world is languishing, unable to reach its full potential due to lack of education and proper healthcare.
It’s all well and good to find iron, copper and whatever else is underneath Chiniot but if its excavation and management is handed over to people similar to the ones handling our other resources, it won’t be long before these too disappear without a trace leaving behind nothing but recriminations. Natural resources are finite. This is a fact we need to learn and respect if we are to make use of whatever is left to us.
The writer is a business studies graduate from southern Punjab.
Email: [email protected] gmail.com

Advertisement

Comments

Advertisement
Advertisement

Topstory

Opinion

Newspost

Editorial

National

World

Sports

Business

Karachi

Lahore

Islamabad

Peshawar