Pakistan’s potential as a vibrant economic power despite poor law and order and incompetence and bad governance in the past 65 years, remains intact –according to some speakers at a gathering of businessmen at Lahore on Tuesday.
This optimistic picture of the country is echoed by engineering entrepreneurs like Mohsin Syed.
- Pakistan is the ninth largest producer of wheat in the world,
- fourth largest producer of milk,
- twelfth largest producer of rice,
- fourth largest cotton producer and
- third largest cotton consumer in the world,” he said.
- Pakistan has the largest integrated canal irrigation system around the globe. “It has the largest rock salt deposits in the world, whereas its coal reservoirs are the fourth largest on this globe,” Syed Nabeel Hashmi, chairman, Business Forum Punjab.
- “Over 63 percent of Pakistan’s population is below the age of 25 percent. Millions of Pakistanis under the age of 30 are slowly receiving better access to healthcare and education, which enables the younger generation to drive the economy by virtue of middle class growth,” he said.
- “They will become consumers, spend discretionary income, and enjoy the associated status,” he said, adding that this growing middle-class will continue to create large levels of domestic customer demand for goods and services.
“There is silver lining amid the anarchy we see at present and the positives do point towards better future” said Iftikhar Ali Malik, former president of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
- In the era of acutest ever financial crisis, Pakistan’s banking system has stood solid displaying its strength when banks the world over are still under stress, he said.
- The pro active stance of the Supreme Court of Pakistan on corruption has forced many a corrupt to pay back the looted amounts. “The media has also played an important role in creating awareness about malpractice and nepotism” he noted.
- The manufacturing sector has shown resilience by braving acutest power and energy crisis he said. “The exporters have boosted the confidence of foreign buyers by delivering goods in time despite bad law and order, terror threats and power crisis” he added.
Malik said the power crisis has forced the private sector to generate power through alternate sources and reduce its dependence of public sector utilities. Pakistan largest corporate group is totally independent of power supplies from Pakistan Electric Power Company, he said.
- He said new technologies are being introduced in which high productive high tech machines are replacing existing machines. Besides increasing production these machines consume 40 percent less power, he added.
- “Finally, and most critically, the country’s vibrant informal economy, in which goods and services have been traded in the absence of official markets for hundreds of years, affords Pakistan’s overall economy an invaluable — and unique — layer of protection” Malik said.
- While traditional development and financial statistics estimate Pakistani market segments for the global business community, these analyses rarely capture the true weight of this economic activity, which by nature is difficult to approximate, he added.
He said the global recession affects its foreign direct investment inflows and exports, Pakistan’s informal economy acts as a piece of elastic, connective tissue that picks up slack in the system and provides markets for goods and services that may not have been otherwise traded given the circumstances. The existence of this informal economy combined with an emerging middle class, a growing financial regulatory environment, he concluded.