A few years ago I had the privilege of studying in an international school where students from at least a dozen different nations used to study. One day a discussion broke out about whose country is best in what.
The Japanese proudly claimed to be world leaders in manufacturing; Americans openly boasted about having the world’s leading economy and soon the question was passed on to me about Pakistan. I realized leaving aside footballs what else could I say.
This question still lingers on in my mind today just as it does in the minds of millions of other Pakistanis. Today we not only have a negligible share in the global exports but are unable to manufacture products even for our own consumption. The reason for our present sorry state is without any doubt the neglect we have shown towards our economy in the past six decades.
To correct this first we need to see the principle that made others so great in the first place. What was the factor that made America the leader in the corporate world in the 20th century, how is it that countries like India and South Africa which had a story not very different from ours not so long ago today have one of the highest economic growth rates in the world. ENTREPRENEURSHIP. These are some of the facts related to entrepreneurship in Pakistan;
- We need to promote and integrate the value of entrepreneurship in our culture and economy on an emergency basis in order to ensure that we achieve fast and sustainable economic growth.
- Our policymakers have never factored entrepreneurship into decision making. Even the PM youth loan program just seems to be a big scam in the making.
- Not only have our economic planners ignored entrepreneurship which has spearheaded the growth of the world economy for decades but poor law and order and rampant corruption in the country helps to ensure that thousands of talented young men leave our shores every year.
- Rather than wasting money on lucrative projects such as Metro bus, the government should instead focus more on spending money on policies focused on creating a value-added business.
- It was the start-ups which drove the economic boom of the Musharraf era. At that time the focus was more on service-oriented businesses such as restaurants and spas. This is a witness to the potential of Pakistani nation. This time the focus should be on export-oriented value-added products.
- The government needs to focus more on labor training. Over half of our labor is untrained. If the government can successfully train them they can end up becoming a major asset for our country.
- Pakistan’s youth bulge can turn out to be a great asset if proper planning and utilization of resources follow. The government needs to focus on this.
In order to ensure that we are able to become one of the leading economies of the twenty-first century, the government needs to take urgent and swift steps for, with three million new entrants in the labor market, time is a luxury we can ill afford.