Ending economic divide between urban and rural Sindh vital

KARACHI: Dr. Ishrat Hussain, head, Institute of Business Administration, and former Governor, State Bank of Pakistan, said Wednesday that economic development in Sindh is not possible without improving law & order situation and bridging the gap between rural and urban areas.

“The development efforts should be focused more on rural areas so that they could be brought at par to urban areas,” he said addressing the concluding session of International Seminar ‘Sindh through Centuries’ organized by Sindh Madressatul Islam University, Karachi at a local hotel.

“Sindh possesses abundant economic resources but what we need is to utilize them properly,” he viewed. He said the 54 percent of country’s economy depends on Karachi port while the agriculture had 23 to 24 percent share in economy but it declined to 17 percent due to neglect.

He further stated that country’s youth is in dire need of employment but unfortunately manufacturing sector has failed to create jobs and it is only the services sector that offers jobs. While describing Thar Coal Field as largest source of energy having vast potential, he said: “We had been listening to about That Coal since last 15 years but such a big source of energy has not yet been developed.”

“The indigenous resources are always utilized by the nations in case of crisis but the case here is contrary to it.”

Elaborating the urban and rural divide, Dr. Ishrat Hussain cited example of difference in literacy rate. “The literacy rate in Pakistan is said to be 59 percent while it is 75 percent in urban and only 42 percent in rural areas. The gender-wise literacy figures show further difference as female literacy rate in rural areas is only 22 percent while it is 68 percent in urban areas.”

He said the rural areas have big role in economy but unfortunately they have very less purchasing power. He also spoke of dearth of healthcare facilities in rural areas.

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