Pak­istan has po­ten­tial to post still bet­ter growth

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS -

THOUGH the Eco­nomic Sur­vey, launched on Thurs­day, ac­knowl edges that the coun­try missed sev­eral tar­gets es­pe­cially the GDP growth rate, which was 4.7% dur­ing the out­go­ing year as against the tar­geted 5.5% but it is sat­is­fy­ing that it is high­est in the last eight years. How­ever, miss­ing of the tar­get by 0.8% puts ques­tion marks about plans of the present Govern­ment to achieve the am­bi­tious tar­get of 7% GDP growth rate by the end of its ten­ure in 2018.

The doc­u­ment shows in­dus­try and ser­vices sec­tors per­formed well but growth in agri­cul­ture was dis­mal and this was ex­pected in view of lop­sided fo­cus of the Govern­ment. Pre­vi­ously, in­dus­trial and man­u­fac­tur­ing suf­fered mainly be­cause of non-avail­abil­ity of elec­tric­ity and gas but the author­i­ties con­cerned made it a point that they get their power re­quire­ments and in turn these sec­tors grew some­what sat­is­fac­to­rily. Agri­cul­ture sec­tor has also been fac­ing nu­mer­ous chal­lenges and the Govern­ment came out with a pack­age but it could not be im­ple­mented ef­fec­tively due to its politi­ciza­tion by some vested in­ter­ests in op­po­si­tion, non­co­op­er­a­tion by Sindh and KPK gov­ern­ments and even op­po­si­tion by the Supreme Court and the re­sults are be­fore us. Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif de­serves credit for di­rect­ing bud­get-makers to in­clude a pack­age of in­cen­tives and re­lief mea­sures to de­velop agri­cul­ture sec­tor and hope­fully this would have a salu­tary im­pact on the over­all sit­u­a­tion in the sec­tor. Agri­cul­ture can de­velop only if cost of in­puts is re­duced sig­nif­i­cantly but so far the em­pha­sis has been on in­creas­ing the pro­cure­ment price of dif­fer­ent crops, which made these com­modi­ties dearer for peo­ple of Pak­istan but the end ben­e­fit was reaped by the mid­dle­man and not the farmer. Apart from this, Pak­istan has the po­ten­tial to post still bet­ter GDP growth rate if the plan­ners set their pri­or­i­ties right by lay­ing more em­pha­sis on in­creas­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity than squeez­ing dif­fer­ent sec­tors of the econ­omy by way of un­just taxes as we wit­ness in the case of elec­tric­ity, IT prod­ucts and tele­com sec­tors. We have mis­er­ably failed to pro­mote sec­tors other than tex­tile and the tex­tile too has not de­liv­ered as per its po­ten­tial and ex­pec­ta­tions due to fraud­u­lent prac­tices. A pol­icy shift is needed if we are re­ally in­ter­ested in an all-in­clu­sive growth and de­vel­op­ment.

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