Lahore: Knowledge based economy is only way to cope with the challenges posed by the rapidly changing global scenario. It will also help overcome various internal issues like decline in exports, energy crisis, lowest tax-to-GDP ratio, inefficiency of Public Sector Entities, brain-drain, shortage of skilled human resources and low industrial production etc.
These views were expressed by the LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz while talking to a group of LCCI members here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Monday.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz spoke at length and briefed them about the LCCI role in policy corridors and various steps taken for the economic wellbeing of the country.
He said that lack of knowledge and research is one of the biggest reasons of our economic ills. He said that unavailability of authentic data is coming in the way of Pakistan’s external trade.
“We are talking about to be an Asian Tiger but how it is possible when our exports are declining and we are far behind even from those countries who were following us as a role model a few decades ago”, Ijaz A. Mumtaz said.
He said that our exports felling short of target which is not a good omen for the economy at all. He said that our exports are limited to a few merchandise and dependent on a few countries which was the biggest reason of decline in exports.
The LCCI President urged the government to conduct market research to find out new destinations for the Pakistani products which are best in the world as far as quality and price is concerned. He said that Pakistani Missions abroad should be duty bound to introduce Pakistani products to the foreign buyers and also ensure dissemination of trade related information so that Pakistan entrepreneurs could avail trade opportunities to the maximum.
“It is time to diversify our businesses and have to add new products to attract maximum foreign buyers for Pakistani products”, Ijaz A. Mumtaz added.
He said that government would have to introduce “Knowledge & Research” culture in all sectors of economy including energy. He said that promotion of research in energy sector would suggest best solution of power shortfall being experienced by the country since long.
He said that developed countries are researching and finding out new ways of power generation while we are playing the role of silent spectators.
“Only public-private partnership could make a big breakthrough in the field of “Knowledge & Research” therefore government should take business community onboard at all economic matters”, the LCCI President demanded.
He said that trade and Industry is the backbone of the economy as the government generates more than 90 per cent of its total resources from this sector therefore it can make a great contribution in turning Pakistan into one of the greatest nations in the world provided due facilitation and an enabling business atmosphere are ensured.
He also stressed the need for strengthening of institutional framework for being a prerequisite to economic stability, progress and prosperity.
He said that only strong institutions could guarantee good governance but unfortunately never-ever in the past due attention was given towards strengthening of institutions. He said that weak institutions always weak system and no country can achieve its targets with a weak institutional framework.
The LCCI President said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry acts as a bridge between the Government and the business community. It has always tried to ensure a business-friendly environment through sharing views with the government and by taking all the stakeholders onboard on all the economy related issues. The primary objective of LCCI is to protect the interests of the business community while remaining committed to the cause of development of the country.
He said that there are a number of issues that must be tackled on priority, the biggest one is how to keep the momentum of growth in the wake of a less than targeted growth of the Agriculture and the Manufacturing sector. The second one is the widening gap between exports and imports that could be contained by reducing import of luxury items.
He said that the frequent increases in the prices of energy are making Pakistani products uncompetitive in the international market and Pakistan is loosing the international markets to China, India and even Bangladesh. Although the oil prices were linked to international prices of oil, the benefit of decline in oil prices has not been passed on to the consumers for quite a long time.