Industrialization: First Priority - Way to Economic Haven

By Abid Ali, Syed | Economic Review, September 1993 | Go to article overview

Industrialization: First Priority - Way to Economic Haven


Abid Ali, Syed, Economic Review


Whether Pakistan's salvation lies in an agricultural revolution or industrial advance is more or less a debatable issue, and the correct position is that neither of the two facets is mutually exclusive - in effect the two are complementary. The agricultural growth has its own advantages as far as autarky in foodgrains production is concerned which in turn leads to self-sustenance on a national plane, and is, therefore, desirable. But under the present day conditions when life pattern is complex, even competitive, we have to be on our toes to provide infra-structure and industrial base for our industrial potential to grow and flourish; to enable the nation to bring out its best, and offer the best answer to questions relating to the country's prosperity, territorial integrity and national sovereignty and independence.

So it is that to realise goals of overall national self-sufficiency and economic viability, Pakistan will have to have a major breakthrough in the field of industrialisation - so far Pakistan's record of industrial growth has been haphazard, irregular, and unscientific. But now the trend has to change and development has to be selective, with an eye to specialisation. Emphasis has to be placed on industrialisation which lands boost to our exports, and has the effect of maximising our foreign exchange earnings. All prosperous nations in the world are drawing sustenance through this means e.g. Japan has built up its economy through the export of electronic goods, medium and small sized costs; South Korea, Taiwan, even China and Hongkong, through specialisation in textiles made-ups and, in particular, ready-made and fashion garments, and have had large trade-surplus with countries like the USA Canada and Western Europe, and as such have no balance of payment problems.

As opposed to this, we in Pakistan, as a Cotton-producing country are lagging far behind - our share in world exports is hardly 1.5 per cent; and we are letting the golden opportunity provided to us by Providence to go down the drain. Of course, our fiscal and trade policies are such as tend to place the cart before the horse rather than otherwise. Initially, we are prone to export our agricultural produce, in particular cotton, which is used as an industrial raw material, by other countries who eventually happen to be our competitors in the international trade; at least we export semi-finished goods like yarn, grey cloth etc. to countries like Japan, West Germany and others who convert this into finished goods, with high degree of value-addition, and export the same to outside destinations, and earn handsome amounts of foreign exchange.

So it is that we discourage, as far as possible, export of items in raw and unfinished or semi-finished form. Thirdly, we had better enter into joint-venture deals with intending manufacturers all the world over. …

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