Govt urged to pursue long term strategy to ensure double digit growth

ISLAMABAD, Jan 12 (APP): Chairman United Business Group of the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Shahzad Ali Malik Thursday said Pakistan needs a sustainable double digit annual growth rate for sound economy and a long term result oriented strategy that can propel into such a high trajectory of growth.

Chairing a high level meeting of top leaders of business community across the country here on Thursday, he said that the on going Russia-Ukraine conflict had badly affected our fragile economy with spiraling inflation, high costs of raw materials and disruption in global supply chain that led to poor growth and less demand.

He said that in the prevailing scenario, unless WAPDA, Railways, PIA, Pakistan Steel Mills and all other loss incurring entities were restructured on modern scientific lines and managed strictly on merit and sound business principles, the fiscal imbalances would persist. He said that major investments in the energy sector were needed to add affordable supplies of electricity and gas to all industrial and commercial consumers and reduce electricity line losses in its transmission.

He said that reducing the cost of doing business was also an important pre-requisite and there were number of areas where Pakistan had to intensify efforts and modify policies and institutions. He said although these pre-requisites may appear formidable and somewhat unrealistic, but many other countries have shown that with determined and visionary leadership, such ambitious goals, vital for the future of the country, can be achieved in a short period of time.

Shahzad Ali Malik said that the process of globalization had changed the structure of production and trade in the world economy. Pakistan has a well developed agriculture sector which could become the engine of growth and also become a significant source of foreign exchange, provided we undertake master plan of diversifying into value added agriculture.

He said that there was considerable potential for attracting foreign investment from the Middle East in agriculture and in agro processing of products. He said this in turn will require stronger links between agricultural research and industry and investments in post harvest transport, storage and marketing in cold chains.

He said the second major opportunity for accelerated growth in the short run is in the small scale industrial and commercial sectors. Pakistan has 3.3 million economic establishments of which over 90 percent are small enterprises employing less than 5 workers and another 4 percent are medium sized enterprises employing between 6 and 50 workers.

He said SMEs should also be brought on main stream of national development like all advanced countries for sustainable economic growth and prosperity, he concluded.