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Debate / Ideas for solutions to Pakistan's economic problems

The Accountant

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Dear friends, from quite some time I wanted to initiate a debate on economic development of Pakistan but due to personal and professional commitments never got time to actually write something. Leveraging on eid holidays I am initiating the topic where I would like you guys to share your ideas.

Those interested in politics are already well aware of key economic problems of Pakistan. Thanks to consistent budget deficits Pakistan has a mounting public debt as a result most of the budget get utilized in debt servicing rather than for any development project.

On the other hand consistent and huge trade deficit keeps on pushing for currency devaluation and need for borrowing from abroad; putting Pakistan under influence of its creditors.

The twin deficit coupled with low economic growth resulted in vicious circle where Pakistan’s per capita GDP growth is getting lower and lower in comparison to other comparative economies.

However, most of these are only the symptoms of poor economic management rather than problem itself. Our problems are structural in nature and requires a lot of economic restructuring before any benefits can be seen. Short term decision making of the ruling elites for the personal benefits has made our business uncompetitive. Our resources and money is being used for hoarding and speculating mostly in non-productive sectors. Most safe and profitable investment is to buy a property and wait for prices to increase which is a total wastage of resources. Similarly in commodity sector most of the profit earned by the middle man (arti) rather than the producer or risk taker.

Although government and establishment has realized that without a strong economy survival of Pakistan as a nuclear nation is impossible and is focusing her efforts for increasing export and import substitution but till to date the improvement in external trade account is still small in comparison to required target.

Despite putting a lot of efforts bringing economic experts from around the world and having support from establishment; the results are still far from encouraging, so what the real reason behind such a slow progress?

In my opinion Pakistan structural issues are not even touched till to date. The remedies suggested by the government is again addressing the symptoms without touching the core structural issues of the economy.

In my opinion to address the structural issues of Pakistan government need to work on following areas:

  • Development of human resources capable of dealing with modern day challenges in every field of life. Right from an engineer to a farmer, every individual person in the work force should be developed, trained and retrained to become competitive to one of the best among the world. Need to establish institutes, online courses, access to resources and internet to the work force teaching them the efficient ways of production.

  • Establishment of research and think tank institutes free from political influence comprising of one of the best brain in their respective fields. Those research centers and think tanks should be responsible for policy making and monitoring development progress in their relevant field.

  • Pakistan economy lacks the basic backbone industries without which industrialization is nothing but a wet dream. In order to industrialize Pakistan we need to invest heavily in steel industry, petrochemical industry, electronic industry, artificial intelligence industry, and electrical goods industry, heavy machinery manufacturing industry and bio sciences. Till to date the only investment being done is in energy sector and housing sector only.

  • All these industry will provide basic raw material to other manufacturing companies. However, these industries need some serious heavy investments which an individual investor is not capable to arrange. And hence we move to fourth area where we need to work on.

  • The fourth area where government needs to work is establishment of special purpose financing vehicles that can collect finance from individuals and then invest those finances into venture capital industry to establish new organizations to the likes of Pakistan steel mills, PICIC commercial bank, PECO and other such flagship organization. However, the key is here is to arrange finances only while keeping the operations to professionals only and exiting the organization after 2 years of profitable operations.
These are some of the ideas that I can think of right now. I am sure, some you might have even greater ideas or can add a lot to my opinion. Looking forward for further suggestion from respected members.
 

JamD

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Dear friends, from quite some time I wanted to initiate a debate on economic development of Pakistan but due to personal and professional commitments never got time to actually write something. Leveraging on eid holidays I am initiating the topic where I would like you guys to share your ideas.
This is great. We should understand that a good defence cannot come without a great economy. I also have nonprofessional interest in economic issues facing Pakistan. Here's a recent thread that you may like to follow if you haven't already (sorry I forgot to tag you):





Those interested in politics are already well aware of key economic problems of Pakistan. Thanks to consistent budget deficits Pakistan has a mounting public debt as a result most of the budget get utilized in debt servicing rather than for any development project.

On the other hand consistent and huge trade deficit keeps on pushing for currency devaluation and need for borrowing from abroad; putting Pakistan under influence of its creditors.

The twin deficit coupled with low economic growth resulted in vicious circle where Pakistan’s per capita GDP growth is getting lower and lower in comparison to other comparative economies.

However, most of these are only the symptoms of poor economic management rather than problem itself. Our problems are structural in nature and requires a lot of economic restructuring before any benefits can be seen. Short term decision making of the ruling elites for the personal benefits has made our business uncompetitive. Our resources and money is being used for hoarding and speculating mostly in non-productive sectors. Most safe and profitable investment is to buy a property and wait for prices to increase which is a total wastage of resources. Similarly in commodity sector most of the profit earned by the middle man (arti) rather than the producer or risk taker.
Agreed. Let me try to paraphrase what you have said to translate it into a way that a layman like me can understand. Correct me if I'm wrong.

First of all, the twin deficits necessarily mean that we really MUST keep borrowing more and more. I don't think it's helpful to discuss why or how Pakistan can borrow less - I don't think that's a reasonable goal since it's not that our deficits are due to PM house spending or something - they are, as you said, due to
"structural" (word needs explanation) problems in our economy.

Ideally, we want to finance our deficits through tax collection. Unfortunately, I don't expect a poor nation to give more and more tax. I believe tax revenue will go up with growth + expanding tax base. Only expanding tax base will give us very marginal results at best. But how can you grow if you need to keep borrowing? That's the catch22 situation that we are in.

So what does "structural" mean? I think two things:
1. Explaining how we got here? We have been spending beyond our means for a LONG time (every country does but I mean we have done it unsustainably). This has meant the country has outgrown its growth through unsustainable borrowing (if that makes sense).
2. There is elite capture that prevents changes to the status quo even if a government wants to change things.



Although government and establishment has realized that without a strong economy survival of Pakistan as a nuclear nation is impossible and is focusing her efforts for increasing export and import substitution but till to date the improvement in external trade account is still small in comparison to required target.

Despite putting a lot of efforts bringing economic experts from around the world and having support from establishment; the results are still far from encouraging, so what the real reason behind such a slow progress?
I think the reason for little progress is that this structure has been there for decades so it is well entrenched. Politicians, bureaucrats, generals, all have vested interests in this exploitative system now. So if a well-intentioned government wants to change things they have to fight these people now. Not easy at all since the government is in power in part due to these people. So there's a vested interest that prevents the government from doing what's necessary.




In my opinion Pakistan structural issues are not even touched till to date. The remedies suggested by the government is again addressing the symptoms without touching the core structural issues of the economy.
I have given a very good reason for why above. It's not that they are stupid. They are beholden to their sponsors. For example most of your big businessmen are MNAs and MPAs. How will they vote against their own interest? Most land owners are again MNAs MPAs generals and Bahria town. Nobody has the guts to stand up to them.

The only way real changes can happen is if a government comes in with a clear clear majority (none of this coalition government crap) and that party comes in on an economic mandate and not through giving tickets to electables in the foolish hope that once we get into power we'll figure it out.




In my opinion to address the structural issues of Pakistan government need to work on following areas:
  • Development of human resources capable of dealing with modern day challenges in every field of life. Right from an engineer to a farmer, every individual person in the work force should be developed, trained and retrained to become competitive to one of the best among the world. Need to establish institutes, online courses, access to resources and internet to the work force teaching them the efficient ways of production.
200% agreed. Instead of anything fancy let's just start with basic health and basic education. That will give us most bang for the buck. But where do we get the money for that? We have none to spare.




  • Establishment of research and think tank institutes free from political influence comprising of one of the best brain in their respective fields. Those research centers and think tanks should be responsible for policy making and monitoring development progress in their relevant field.
Enough of these already exist (for eg https://sdpi.org/). The people in charge know what needs to be done. They simply cannot do what's necessary because they do not have the mandate (as explained above).






  • Pakistan economy lacks the basic backbone industries without which industrialization is nothing but a wet dream. In order to industrialize Pakistan we need to invest heavily in steel industry, petrochemical industry, electronic industry, artificial intelligence industry, and electrical goods industry, heavy machinery manufacturing industry and bio sciences. Till to date the only investment being done is in energy sector and housing sector only.
Agreed. I think housing sector is ok (not ideal) because:
A. It does increase productivity
B. We do have housing shortage
C. Vested interests are in real estate so this rocks the boat less so can actually be done

But you're right, we need to industrialize. I think this has to do with incentives. Maybe this is the noneconomic expert in me but I feel that simply making real-estate and plot-owning less lucrative we can have a lot of industrialization. Currently it just makes no sense to put money anywhere except into property. If we make targetted tax reforms (of course requires the government to piss off its benefactors in and out of parliament) then capital will be directed to sectors more productive than real estate.


  • The fourth area where government needs to work is establishment of special purpose financing vehicles that can collect finance from individuals and then invest those finances into venture capital industry to establish new organizations to the likes of Pakistan steel mills, PICIC commercial bank, PECO and other such flagship organization. However, the key is here is to arrange finances only while keeping the operations to professionals only and exiting the organization after 2 years of profitable operations.
I don't know if this is a good idea. I say this because of my apprehensions of the government's ability to make decisions independent of the elite that has captured our economy.



These are some of the ideas that I can think of right now. I am sure, some you might have even greater ideas or can add a lot to my opinion. Looking forward for further suggestion from respected members.
If I had to make a guess I would say do the following in the short term:
1. Property tax reform to repel capital from property market and into more productive sectors
2. Invest in basic health and basic education - this will require some sacrifices elsewhere I don't know where
3. Invest in infrastructure like public transport - increased mobility is a "force multiplier"
 

SABRE

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Pakistan's economic problems are unsolvable because of its structural flaws. State economies have two sectors, i.e. public and private. In Pakistan there are three sectors with the 3rd sector domineering the other two sectors, in one form or the other.
 

blueazure

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1. shut down CSS academy lahore

2.shut down FBR

3. reduced GST to 5%

4.remove humans in govt process .


--------------


change my mind
 

FuturePAF

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Proper Management and Meritocracy in the Public sector and building the right environment to protect and nurture a productive private industry until it gets to the point it can stand on its own. All this whole properly taxing them, and preventing smugglers from ruining their businesses through unfair competition. This is the only we we can ensure investor in cash heavy industries they will get ROI on their investments. (Industries like Petrochemicals/Pharmaceuticals, IT, big budget media, foreign tourist focused Tourism, high volume organic Agriculture, sporting goods and Medical devices) we should be very carefully to be transparent about big contracts with foreign companies and countries such as the Reko Diq mining contract. We can’t afford to lose investor confidence. A good barometer, at least as far as getting Overseas Pakistani investors is giving a better ROI then real estate.

Broaden and Specialize.

Broaden the industries Pakistan aims to become competitive in, at first domestically then internationally or vis a Vera depending on the industry and the product. IT and Media are two example. We should have a national strategy to become competitive in these fields and stop promoting foreign media at the detriment of local media.

Specialize in areas we can build up a competitive advantage and move up the value added chain. High quality goods with year on year reinvestment to stay competitive such as our footballs should be a model of success. We should be prepare to move away from garments as Africa will emerge over the next 20-30 years once investment takes off along with its population.

For example, under a potential brand like “Multani Mitti”; a famous name regionally, Pakistan could export a number of locally made cosmetics, focusing on all natural/organic market.

In the end the key will be focusing on the needs of the export market. We should be sending trade delegations to the fastest and/or wealthiest markets and figuring out what out industries need to be competitive in these markets, especially China. Similar to how Mexico and Canada’s economies are planned in accordance to their trade with the US, we should be looking at what we can sell to China. Something we should not overlook if attracting more Chinese companies to relocate some industries to Pakistan, especially in light of their increase in labor costs due to aging population.


We should also be investing infrastructure that will prevent black swan events like the once in ten year floods (which we are overdue for) or the locust plagues and droughts through more efficient water management.

And finally (something I re-learned today and our politicians have learned over the past few months and years :) ) don’t get involved in other people’s messes especially if you can’t help. Unless it directly involves us, express your sympathy and move on. just focus on your own house. As Deng Xioping said, “don’t claim leadership, bide your time”. We have to focus on our economy and bide our time for at least a generation if we do a good job on the economy.
 
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The Accountant

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Pakistan's economic problems are unsolvable because of its structural flaws. State economies have two sectors, i.e. public and private. In Pakistan there are three sectors with the 3rd sector domineering the other two sectors, in one form or the other.
Nothing in unsolvable brother.
Just make Karachi a separate Province and we will take Pakistan's economy to Trillion dollar.
I am from karachi.

However please avoid making this serious thread into an ethnic non productive debate.
 

Darth Vader

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What will be the most important industry by the end of this century.
Aerospace.
Pakistan needs proper investment in that sector.

To solve current major issues.
Biggest issue is corruption which is directly or indirectly affecting everything.
One Pakistan should invest in better banking system and make it cheaper and easier accessible for middle to lower class, force people to go for cashless economy it will force people to save in banks rather then storing gold and cash in homes specially in villages.
That will make ruppe and bank stronger.
With that Easier loan accessibility for new start ups. That will jump start middle to low class economy. Tax system will become digital make sure its hard to carry cash.
Will lower crime rate as well, easier to monitor money laundering and tax fraud.

Revamping the education system & justice system will directly solve many issues when you have corruption in police and court you cant really do much
 

Baz2020

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Dear friends, from quite some time I wanted to initiate a debate on economic development of Pakistan but due to personal and professional commitments never got time to actually write something. Leveraging on eid holidays I am initiating the topic where I would like you guys to share your ideas.

Those interested in politics are already well aware of key economic problems of Pakistan. Thanks to consistent budget deficits Pakistan has a mounting public debt as a result most of the budget get utilized in debt servicing rather than for any development project.

On the other hand consistent and huge trade deficit keeps on pushing for currency devaluation and need for borrowing from abroad; putting Pakistan under influence of its creditors.

The twin deficit coupled with low economic growth resulted in vicious circle where Pakistan’s per capita GDP growth is getting lower and lower in comparison to other comparative economies.

However, most of these are only the symptoms of poor economic management rather than problem itself. Our problems are structural in nature and requires a lot of economic restructuring before any benefits can be seen. Short term decision making of the ruling elites for the personal benefits has made our business uncompetitive. Our resources and money is being used for hoarding and speculating mostly in non-productive sectors. Most safe and profitable investment is to buy a property and wait for prices to increase which is a total wastage of resources. Similarly in commodity sector most of the profit earned by the middle man (arti) rather than the producer or risk taker.

Although government and establishment has realized that without a strong economy survival of Pakistan as a nuclear nation is impossible and is focusing her efforts for increasing export and import substitution but till to date the improvement in external trade account is still small in comparison to required target.

Despite putting a lot of efforts bringing economic experts from around the world and having support from establishment; the results are still far from encouraging, so what the real reason behind such a slow progress?

In my opinion Pakistan structural issues are not even touched till to date. The remedies suggested by the government is again addressing the symptoms without touching the core structural issues of the economy.

In my opinion to address the structural issues of Pakistan government need to work on following areas:

  • Development of human resources capable of dealing with modern day challenges in every field of life. Right from an engineer to a farmer, every individual person in the work force should be developed, trained and retrained to become competitive to one of the best among the world. Need to establish institutes, online courses, access to resources and internet to the work force teaching them the efficient ways of production.

  • Establishment of research and think tank institutes free from political influence comprising of one of the best brain in their respective fields. Those research centers and think tanks should be responsible for policy making and monitoring development progress in their relevant field.

  • Pakistan economy lacks the basic backbone industries without which industrialization is nothing but a wet dream. In order to industrialize Pakistan we need to invest heavily in steel industry, petrochemical industry, electronic industry, artificial intelligence industry, and electrical goods industry, heavy machinery manufacturing industry and bio sciences. Till to date the only investment being done is in energy sector and housing sector only.

  • All these industry will provide basic raw material to other manufacturing companies. However, these industries need some serious heavy investments which an individual investor is not capable to arrange. And hence we move to fourth area where we need to work on.

  • The fourth area where government needs to work is establishment of special purpose financing vehicles that can collect finance from individuals and then invest those finances into venture capital industry to establish new organizations to the likes of Pakistan steel mills, PICIC commercial bank, PECO and other such flagship organization. However, the key is here is to arrange finances only while keeping the operations to professionals only and exiting the organization after 2 years of profitable operations.
These are some of the ideas that I can think of right now. I am sure, some you might have even greater ideas or can add a lot to my opinion. Looking forward for further suggestion from respected members.
I hate to say this but unless rule of law is upheld, there is no hope. I was thinking of investing 250k gbp in Pakistan but then changed my mind.

The corruption and indifferent attitude of Pakistani government departments is nauseating.
 

313ghazi

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In my opinion the crux of the problem is our low productivity, low enginuity, low efficiency and unskilled workforce.

We need to invest in our workforce and our small businesses. It's all good having major companies like Indus Toyota or Telenor or whatever doing well, but the backbone of our economy needs to be the SME's. If the Darzi in your highstreet is rich he's going to buy things, if Malik Riaz gets even richers - he's just going to hoard that wealth. I'm not saying that we should ignore big businesses, they're vital, but I think SME's and the workforce is the problem.

Starting with the workforce. Most of the manual labour isn't particularly literate/numerate and certainly not IT literate. They'll have a massive learning curve using machinery or following SOP's. They're for the most part human mules. This needs to change - you can't run businesses with people who can't be upskilled. If today a grocery shop wants to use an EPOS and it's staff can't use a computer, what hope do they have? If a builder doesn't know the difference between 6mm and 9mm, how is he going to find the appropriate drill bit to make a hole?

We need to reform our education system. At age 14 anyone who isn't achieving very well academically should be put into a vocational college. We should be teaching them basic literacy, numeracy and a trade. We should also be teaching them some workplace and business basics (like book keeping, time keeping, how to use email)/social media). We should also have high skilled vocational colleges for the intelligent students. You don't need a degree to be a programmer for example. You don't need a degree to be an accountant, you need to pass all the ACCA modules and be good at mathematics.

This leaves the problem of those already in the workforce who are useless - i suggest night classes, short courses, grants to fund them going onto it and tax breaks for any companies willing to give their staff paid leave to attend courses.

If we have a skilled workforce, even in simple things like carpentry, brick laying, welding etc - when they go abroad they'll earn really good money, the sort of money that builds houses and buys cars, pays for medical treatment and weddings, the sort of money where dad comes home to visit his kids twice a year, encourages tourism or after 10 years returns to setup a business. Right now a lot of our expat workers simply pay for the basic needs of life.

The money in the little mans pocket gets spent, the money in billionaires pockets goes to London, Dubai, Switzerland and the Caymans.

Productivity/Enginuity/Efficieny - In my mind they're basically linked. A lot of our businesses are limited by their own abilities. People are unware of tools, or how to use them. People are unable to access larger markets, or advertise. They don't do things in the most economic way possible, or they're penny wise and pound foolish. We also don't know the true value of our commidities and don't create brands. It's a lack of business savvy.

We need a two pronged approach to this.

1. Teach business studies in school/college/even university. Our young people should have an understanding of advertising, marketing, quality control, sales, e-commerce etc. They're the ones setting up the new businesses - old uncles aren't.

2. We need the chamber of commerce to create a department dedicated to upskilling our existing businesses. I personally think this is a great business opportunity for individuals who have the right skills. Approach businesses, offer to help them improve their business processes, get them online etc - in exchange for a fee or a share of profits. The chamber of commerce should be doing this sort of thing for free. They should be hiring and training these business consultants and then sending them out to help SME's.

The more money there is in Pakistani pockets, in individual Pakistani households the more real wealth we have, the more we can tax, the less the impact of inflation has and the more attractive Pakistan will be as a market for companies. Focusing on exports is great, but we have 220 million people, likely to peak at something like 300m+ thats a HUGE market. We want money in their pockets, not the extreme capitalist model you see in India.
 

BATMAN

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Just simply shut down the govt. spend saved billions on defense.
Stop smuggling and facilitate remittances... simply copy what Shaukat Aziz did.
Give tax exemptions to local manufacturing industry.
 

Hakikat ve Hikmet

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My suggestions:

Presidential system

Judicial and administrative reforms

100% automation regarding taxation, customs, excise, and all other forms of revenues like house, car, land etc. registration. No human touch at all

Privatizing the state owned businesses at an accredited rate

Educational reforms. Teach STEM subjects in Madrassas, and Islamic Sciences in normal schools. One set of syllabus for all

Documenting and regulating the undocumented economy in a gradual manner

Fiscal discipline

Give incentives to technology based business like IT, electronics, software etc. Leverage 5G in the Chinese domain by emphasizing on AI, machine learning etc.

Initiating mass housing, elementary and trade schools, public health, basic nutrition for poor kids etc.

Carry on with the connectivity (CPEC, RPEC etc.), SEZs, ports etc. Be a part of the supply chain managements, final manufacturing, assembly, logistics, storage, sorting, mailing etc.

Tourism of all sorts including religious, medical, adventures etc.
 
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313ghazi

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In my opinion the crux of the problem is our low productivity, low enginuity, low efficiency and unskilled workforce.

We need to invest in our workforce and our small businesses. It's all good having major companies like Indus Toyota or Telenor or whatever doing well, but the backbone of our economy needs to be the SME's. If the Darzi in your highstreet is rich he's going to buy things, if Malik Riaz gets even richers - he's just going to hoard that wealth. I'm not saying that we should ignore big businesses, they're vital, but I think SME's and the workforce is the problem.

Starting with the workforce. Most of the manual labour isn't particularly literate/numerate and certainly not IT literate. They'll have a massive learning curve using machinery or following SOP's. They're for the most part human mules. This needs to change - you can't run businesses with people who can't be upskilled. If today a grocery shop wants to use an EPOS and it's staff can't use a computer, what hope do they have? If a builder doesn't know the difference between 6mm and 9mm, how is he going to find the appropriate drill bit to make a hole?

We need to reform our education system. At age 14 anyone who isn't achieving very well academically should be put into a vocational college. We should be teaching them basic literacy, numeracy and a trade. We should also be teaching them some workplace and business basics (like book keeping, time keeping, how to use email)/social media). We should also have high skilled vocational colleges for the intelligent students. You don't need a degree to be a programmer for example. You don't need a degree to be an accountant, you need to pass all the ACCA modules and be good at mathematics.

This leaves the problem of those already in the workforce who are useless - i suggest night classes, short courses, grants to fund them going onto it and tax breaks for any companies willing to give their staff paid leave to attend courses.

If we have a skilled workforce, even in simple things like carpentry, brick laying, welding etc - when they go abroad they'll earn really good money, the sort of money that builds houses and buys cars, pays for medical treatment and weddings, the sort of money where dad comes home to visit his kids twice a year, encourages tourism or after 10 years returns to setup a business. Right now a lot of our expat workers simply pay for the basic needs of life.

The money in the little mans pocket gets spent, the money in billionaires pockets goes to London, Dubai, Switzerland and the Caymans.

Productivity/Enginuity/Efficieny - In my mind they're basically linked. A lot of our businesses are limited by their own abilities. People are unware of tools, or how to use them. People are unable to access larger markets, or advertise. They don't do things in the most economic way possible, or they're penny wise and pound foolish. We also don't know the true value of our commidities and don't create brands. It's a lack of business savvy.

We need a two pronged approach to this.

1. Teach business studies in school/college/even university. Our young people should have an understanding of advertising, marketing, quality control, sales, e-commerce etc. They're the ones setting up the new businesses - old uncles aren't.

2. We need the chamber of commerce to create a department dedicated to upskilling our existing businesses. I personally think this is a great business opportunity for individuals who have the right skills. Approach businesses, offer to help them improve their business processes, get them online etc - in exchange for a fee or a share of profits. The chamber of commerce should be doing this sort of thing for free. They should be hiring and training these business consultants and then sending them out to help SME's.

The more money there is in Pakistani pockets, in individual Pakistani households the more real wealth we have, the more we can tax, the less the impact of inflation has and the more attractive Pakistan will be as a market for companies. Focusing on exports is great, but we have 220 million people, likely to peak at something like 300m+ thats a HUGE market. We want money in their pockets, not the extreme capitalist model you see in India.
With my idea you don't need the government to act to do this. It would be most effective if they did but the private sector can make money from training and up skilling businesses and individuals. People like Azad Chaiwalla already do.

Ideally I think it should be a mix of private/public effort. You need the competition to raise standards and you need govt involvement to regulate and prevent mafias forming.
 

Silverblaze

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In my opinion the crux of the problem is our low productivity, low enginuity, low efficiency and unskilled workforce.

We need to invest in our workforce and our small businesses. It's all good having major companies like Indus Toyota or Telenor or whatever doing well, but the backbone of our economy needs to be the SME's. If the Darzi in your highstreet is rich he's going to buy things, if Malik Riaz gets even richers - he's just going to hoard that wealth. I'm not saying that we should ignore big businesses, they're vital, but I think SME's and the workforce is the problem.

Starting with the workforce. Most of the manual labour isn't particularly literate/numerate and certainly not IT literate. They'll have a massive learning curve using machinery or following SOP's. They're for the most part human mules. This needs to change - you can't run businesses with people who can't be upskilled. If today a grocery shop wants to use an EPOS and it's staff can't use a computer, what hope do they have? If a builder doesn't know the difference between 6mm and 9mm, how is he going to find the appropriate drill bit to make a hole?

We need to reform our education system. At age 14 anyone who isn't achieving very well academically should be put into a vocational college. We should be teaching them basic literacy, numeracy and a trade. We should also be teaching them some workplace and business basics (like book keeping, time keeping, how to use email)/social media). We should also have high skilled vocational colleges for the intelligent students. You don't need a degree to be a programmer for example. You don't need a degree to be an accountant, you need to pass all the ACCA modules and be good at mathematics.

This leaves the problem of those already in the workforce who are useless - i suggest night classes, short courses, grants to fund them going onto it and tax breaks for any companies willing to give their staff paid leave to attend courses.

If we have a skilled workforce, even in simple things like carpentry, brick laying, welding etc - when they go abroad they'll earn really good money, the sort of money that builds houses and buys cars, pays for medical treatment and weddings, the sort of money where dad comes home to visit his kids twice a year, encourages tourism or after 10 years returns to setup a business. Right now a lot of our expat workers simply pay for the basic needs of life.

The money in the little mans pocket gets spent, the money in billionaires pockets goes to London, Dubai, Switzerland and the Caymans.

Productivity/Enginuity/Efficieny - In my mind they're basically linked. A lot of our businesses are limited by their own abilities. People are unware of tools, or how to use them. People are unable to access larger markets, or advertise. They don't do things in the most economic way possible, or they're penny wise and pound foolish. We also don't know the true value of our commidities and don't create brands. It's a lack of business savvy.

We need a two pronged approach to this.

1. Teach business studies in school/college/even university. Our young people should have an understanding of advertising, marketing, quality control, sales, e-commerce etc. They're the ones setting up the new businesses - old uncles aren't.

2. We need the chamber of commerce to create a department dedicated to upskilling our existing businesses. I personally think this is a great business opportunity for individuals who have the right skills. Approach businesses, offer to help them improve their business processes, get them online etc - in exchange for a fee or a share of profits. The chamber of commerce should be doing this sort of thing for free. They should be hiring and training these business consultants and then sending them out to help SME's.

The more money there is in Pakistani pockets, in individual Pakistani households the more real wealth we have, the more we can tax, the less the impact of inflation has and the more attractive Pakistan will be as a market for companies. Focusing on exports is great, but we have 220 million people, likely to peak at something like 300m+ thats a HUGE market. We want money in their pockets, not the extreme capitalist model you see in India.

Kamyab Jawan program loans are an effort to help SMEs but a lot needs to be done.

But the real problem is money how will the govt afford such investments?

Outright privatization of loss making Soes needs to be carried out immediately. they are a drag. A lot of money can be saved and invested then.
 

UDAYCAMPUS

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You guys have easy access to a market of a billion plus people right next to you not to mention cheaper alternatives to many products, how many countries have that?
Just give peace a chance and see the effects, that alone can have a big impact.
If higher ups and the common people see the economic growth even they will think twice before escalating tensions or demanding it as trade will be impacted, south asia will be more prosperous and peaceful.
The current ceasefire is the right step.
 

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