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June 9, 2019

Support for construction, apparel sectors must to create more jobs

Business

June 9, 2019

LAHORE: Unemployment has emerged as a major headache for economic planners, as this could disturb the stability of the society. The state for the time being should exclusively target apparel and construction sectors that have the potential to create immediate jobs.

Jobs are scarce in Pakistan. Millions of men are running after few thousand jobs, while women have been crowded out of the job market.

The state should facilitate the construction sector. Unfortunately, most of the men and women are unskilled.

Construction sector absorbs the unskilled workers. These workers over time learn construction skills through on job training.

Women could be given crash courses in garment making to enable them to find jobs in the apparel making units. Women constitute almost 50 percent of our population.

They have to be integrated in the economic stream to ensure better growth. For the time being, the government should allocate maximum resources for value-added apparel sector. These units should be allowed to import inputs at zero duty.

Mark-up subsidy should be provided on import of stitching machines. Industrial estates for garmenting and knitwear units should be earmarked.

There should be a common effluent treatment plant in each of these dedicated industrial states. For this, the funds should be arranged from the Export Development Fund available with the Ministry of Commerce.

Bangladesh successfully reduced the gender gap in unemployment by vigorously supporting its apparel sector. This sector is not only labour intensive, but also the largest employer of women workforce.

Unfortunately, instead of showing growth, the number of units in the apparel sector of Pakistan has declined having sold their machines to the relatively larger surviving units.

The overall capacity has not increased appreciably in last one decade. There is a dire need to facilitate entrepreneurs in establishing at least 1,000 new medium-sized apparel units in dedicated industrial estates in the first year.

The state should also help them in finding new markets. These units would absorb 2.4 million women workers within two years of successful operations. Similarly, state land should be provided to private builders to construct low cost quality apartments for the homeless. The cost would go down appreciably if land is free.

These could be leased out to the homeless by the government through banks. A decent profit for the private sector should be ensured to keep the process going. As homeless lower middleclass families live on rent. The monthly instalment should be equivalent to that rent. However there should be a clause that gives the right to the government to evacuate those defaulting on lease for three months.

As far as other sectors are concerned, the planners should realise that future economic activity would be based on creativity and would be led by the young generation based in Asia where countries like India and Pakistan enjoy demographic advantage.

Demands of products and services would multiply in the next two decades, as the middle class the world over would double to five billion.

Before 2000 paper was the main source of company communications and records, but it was replaced by PC that remained an asset till 2010. Now smartphones have taken over.

All the company activities and information are available to the executives in smartphones, which one could operate anywhere in the world. The state should concentrate on producing quality human resource for this purpose.

As far as our entrepreneurs are concerned they should earn the trust of workers. The entrepreneurs should operate in an open atmosphere where the boss is available to every employee.

Empowering the employees was another step that entrepreneurs should take. Companies should share the wealth with their workers to motivate them to perform better.

Credit of the performance of workers should be given to them and acknowledged openly. Those executives that listen, enjoy, debate and take the workers along with tact and transparency have better chances of success as future corporate leaders.

They are multipliers that are likely to further boost company image and performance. Those executives, who want everything done through teamwork be credited to them, were likely to lead the decline in company fortunes.

Company bosses must realise that innovation is not without risk. Those who hesitate to take risks cannot head a progressive enterprise. However, unchecked risk taking also destroys an enterprise. Prudent leaders take calculated risk and leverage it in a way that the failure causes minimum damage.

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