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August 11, 2020

Misguided focus

Newspost

 
August 11, 2020

Despite Pakistan being an agrarian country, its agriculture has failed and the nation is turning into a food deficient country. At the same time, the manufacturing sector remains stagnant with obsolete technology and capacity constraint that cannot meet domestic demand let alone produce high quality value added surplus for exports. Consequently, we have become an import dependent trading nation that survives on external borrowings. Amidst the gloomy economic situation, it is a preposterous idea to plan a new city on the pattern of Dubai and estimated to cost Rs5 trillion. There are no two opinions among independent economists that agriculture and manufacturing are the engines of growth, revenue collection, exports, import substitution and provider of sustainable employment.

One does not understand the PM’s obsession with the housing sector, which is a less productive segment of the economy and not generating foreign exchange. The construction sector also uses certain ingredients and raw materials that are imported and add to the import bill and exacerbates trade deficit. It seems certain real estate moguls within the PTI ranks are misguiding the government with a misplaced focus on the housing sector instead of giving attention to the under-performing agriculture sector, and narrow manufacturing base. Improving agriculture, that has immense potential, and making Pakistan a manufacturing hub can only take the economy to the next level.

Arif Majeed

Karachi